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Italy Constitutional Court: parliament legitimate, electoral law unconstitutional

Italy's Constitutional Court released a judgment [text, in Italian] Tuesday detailing their reasoning for striking down the country's current electoral law in a December ruling. The voting law, which has been widely criticized for making election results uncertain, was ruled unconstitutional for its provisions that granted major benefits to the winners of House elections. But the judgment did not declare the currently elected parliament to be invalid. "Parliament is fully legitimate," stated Italian President Giorgio Napolitano [official profile]. "The court itself does not call that into doubt." Italian Premier Enrico Letta [BBC profile] has made electoral reform a top priority and he hopes to reform the Senate this year to have lesser lawmaking capabilities than the house.

The initial ruling [JURIST report] that held parts of the electoral law unconstitutional was made on December 4. In November, the Italian Senate voted to expel [JURIST report] former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile] from parliament. This comes after Berlusconi was ordered to stand trial for allegedly bribing a rival party senator to step down and his October 2012 conviction [JURIST reports] for tax fraud. Five days after Berlusconi's conviction, Italy passed anti-corruption legislation [JURIST report] calling for harsher penalties on government officials engaged in corruption.

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