The Italian government won all five confidence votes it had called in the upper house of parliament on Wednesday on a new electoral law that looks unlikely to produce a clear-cut result at national elections due by next May. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni called the five confidence motions to get the package approved quickly despite furious opposition from the anti-system 5-Star Movement and small leftist groups. All five of the motions, on different articles of the law, garnered comfortable majorities, even though many leftist allies had deserted coalition ranks. The bill has already passed through the lower house. A sixth vote on another article, but which was not the subject of a confidence motion, also passed. A final vote on the law is scheduled for Thursday morning.
The proposed voting system favors parties that form pre-election coalitions and is backed by the largest parties within Italy’s main centre-left and centre-right blocs. It will penalize groups that want to go it alone, such as 5-Star.
However, opinion polls indicate that the system, which is a mix of proportional representation and first-past-the-post, will not throw up an obvious winner, with the vote split three ways between the left, right and 5-Star.