The Italian government called on Tuesday for confidence votes in the lower house of parliament to try to force through an electoral law that is likely to penalize the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement. The new voting law, which would be used in a national election due by next May, is backed by the ruling Democratic Party (PD), former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!) and the anti-migrant Northern League. Unlike the current rules, the new system, known as the Rosatellum, would allow the formation of broad coalitions before the ballot, a factor likely to hurt the maverick 5-Star, which refuses to join alliances. The party, which tops many opinion polls, says the Rosatellum could cost it up to 50 seats in parliament. It has called for protests on Wednesday, when the lower house is due to hold two confidence motions. A third vote is set for Thursday.
Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri described a meeting that was held Sunday night as a “crossroads” towards reaching an electoral law based on the proportional system, away from sectarian and confessional considerations. Berri, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and Lebanese Forces MP Georges Adwan met on Sunday to discuss a proportional electoral law and specifically the distribution of electoral districts. In a telephone conference during a gathering of Amal Movement’s cadres in Europe, which was held in the German capital, Berri said: “A very important meeting will be held this evening and perhaps it could be a crossroads that leads us to a solution and an electoral law based on proportional representation, women’s rights and the right of expats to vote, a law that shuns sectarianism and puts this country on the track of the future.”