[JURIST] The Italian Parliament [official website, in Italian] on Monday approved a controversial electoral overhaul designed to bring increased political stability to the country. The law provides new electoral rules that will provide [BBC report] a majority of electoral seats to a clear winner of an election. The winning party will be defined as one that receives at least 40 percent of the electoral vote, and 340 of the 630 seats in the lower house of parliament will be reserved for that party. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi [BBC profile] pushed the reform through as one of several campaign promises after a year of debate. He issued a statement saying, “Commitment achieved, promise respected. Italy needs people who don’t always say no.” Opposition parties believe the reform provides an excess of power to single political parties and retracts the right of voters to directly choose their representatives. They have characterized the law as “undemocratic.” Despite opposition, the rules will take effect in July 2016.
Renzi has promised other political and economic reforms designed to increase stability in Italy, which has had 63 governments [Reuters report] since World War II. He has expressed plans [BBC report] to further transform the Italian system by replacing the Senate with a non-elected body with lesser powers, as a way to provide more checks on legislation that is currently routinely held up.