The Italian government on Wednesday won two confidence votes on a fiercely contested electoral law that is likely to penalize the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in next year’s national election. The proposed voting system is backed by three of the country’s four largest parties, with the centre-left government looking to rush it onto the statute books ahead of elections, which are due by May 2018. Five-Star supporters protested in front of parliament as the Chamber of Deputies approved two confidence motions by a wide margin. A third such vote is scheduled for Thursday ahead of a final ballot in the lower house on the disputed bill. Unlike the current rules, the new system would allow the formation of multi-party coalitions before the ballot, a factor likely to hurt 5-Star, which is topping most opinion polls and refuses to join alliances.
“They want to take away our right to choose,” said Nicola Zuppa, 45, who said he had paid 175 euros ($200) to travel from Padua in northern Italy to take part in the protest, which drew up to 2,000 people in the heart of Rome.
The use of multiple confidence motions allowed the ruling coalition to truncate discussion on the bill and sidestep dozens of planned secret votes on various amendments. The reform still needs the approval of the upper house Senate.