Italian lawmakers edged closer on Tuesday to approving a new electoral law seen as a test of new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s ability to enact broad structural reforms needed to end government instability in Italy. Overhauling the complicated voting system blamed for leaving Italy with a deadlocked parliament has been a top priority for Renzi since he became leader of the main centre-left Democratic Party (PD) last year. The new law, designed after an agreement between Renzi and centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, is intended to produce a clear winner able to govern without the kind of unwieldy cross-party coalition left by last year’s inconclusive election.
Renzi had been pushing hard to get the bill through the Chamber of Deputies lower house before he unveils a package of tax and job measures on Wednesday.
But it has caused widespread unease in the PD, where many are very unhappy at the accord with their arch-enemy Berlusconi and irritated with the bulldozing style of the 39-year-old premier, who has insisted the legislation be passed quickly to avoid the risk of it being picked apart in parliament.