Govt says lawmakers mustn't drag feet on reforms
Renzi bill would cut number of Senators, reduce their powers03 April, 17:19
The Renzi cabinet on Monday unanimously approved a bill that will largely strip the Upper House of its lawmaking powers, transforming it into a leaner assembly of local-government representatives.
It will also reduce the number of Senators, scrap Italy's provincial governments, and take back some powers from overspending regional governments in an effort meant to streamline governance and save money.
The bill could still take a year to work its way through parliament.
It could also save government as much as one billion euros, Renzi said last week.
The alternative bill sponsored by dissenting PD members and some center-right MPs from Berlusconi's Forza Italia party would make the Senate into a 106-member body elected by citizens. "Mayors and council members are legitimately elected by the people. Comparative law suggests this is not some weird system invented by this government alone, but one that exists in other countries of proven democracy such as France or Germany," Boschi argued. "We are open to reviewing the numbers criteria in proportion to the population, but we must avoid having an excessive number of Senators.
"We are not considering a directly elected Senate at the moment".