Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella wants parliament to draft a new electoral law before any ballot is held, a source close to the president said on Tuesday, a move likely to delay any vote after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns. Renzi said he would step down after losing a referendum on constitutional reform on Sunday, but Mattarella asked him to stay on until parliament passes the 2017 budget, a vote scheduled for Wednesday. The next parliamentary election is not scheduled until 2018 but on Tuesday there was growing consensus among party leaders for it to be held a year earlier. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the vote should be held in February. Senior members of Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) will meet on Wednesday to discuss the referendum defeat and the party’s future strategy.
On the eve of the meeting, two PD sources said the party would support a government of national unity, which would have to include parties that had been in opposition. If such a government is not possible, then the PD wants an early election.
The president wants a new law to follow a Constitutional Court ruling on the legitimacy of the lower house voting law adopted last year, the source said, which is not due before a Jan. 24 hearing. Another voting law has been in place for the Senate since 2014.
Voting with two different laws is widely seen as a recipe for continued political instability in a country that has seen 63 governments in 70 years.