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Reforms in Italy blocked for too long, says Boschi

Renzi says government will act as 'steamroller' for change

04 April, 11:06
Reforms in Italy blocked for too long, says Boschi (ANSA) - Rome, April 4 - Political reforms have been blocked for too long in Italy and the time has come for action, Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi said Friday.

For the past 30 years or more, steps towards reform have been "blocked," Boschi said in an interview with radio program Agora on State broadcaster Rai.

The government's plans are legitimate and must proceed, she added, one day after the government urged lawmakers to stop dragging their feet on Senate reform following the introduction of an alternative reform bill from 22 MPs in the ruling Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Matteo Renzi.

The Renzi cabinet on Monday unanimously approved a bill that would largely strip the Upper House of its lawmaking powers, transforming it into a leaner assembly of local-government representatives.

On Thursday, it was approved by the Lower House in a vote of 260 to 158 with seven abstentions, but could still take a year to work its way through parliament. Renzi himself called for haste Thursday evening on popular television program Otto e Mezzo, when he said that if necessary his government would act as a "streamroller" to ensure work is completed.

"We have abolished the provinces, we are travelling ahead like a steamroller," Renzi said during the program.

The premier, whose cabinet was meeting Friday, said that was necessary "to give real hope to Italy". His bill introduced Monday would 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 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.