Renzi’s election plan faces new hurdles in House

IMG class=hide alt=”Renzi’s election plan faces new hurdles in House” src=”” P(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) – Rome, March 10 – Premier Matteo Renzi’s hopes of getting a bill for a new election law approved quickly by the Lower House suffered a setback on Monday when a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s opposition centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party said it was against the possibility of including minimum quotas for women MPs. The bill, which Renzi was aiming to pass Tuesday, is the result of a deal that the leader of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) struck with Berlusconi before he became premier last month. “Forza Italia is against minimum quotas for women MPs because it would be a law with evident problems of Constitutionality,” said FI’s Francesco Paolo Sisto, who was one of the lawmakers proposing the election-system bill. As a result, work on the bill was suspended for much of the day. Once it resumed, the committee overseeing the bill announced that a secret vote would be held on quotas for women, which would limit seats for men to 60%. The Renzi-Berlusconi deal did not address moves to have greater sexual equality in parliament, although there had been calls from many parts of the political spectrum for them to be incorporated into the new system. The new election law is set to replace the previous system that was declared unconstitutional in December and was blamed for the inconclusive outcome to last year’s general election. The new bill sets bars for small parties to force them into alliances, limiting their veto power, and provides a 15% winner’s bonus for a coalition that gets 37% to ensure it has a working majority. The aim is to prevent the havoc that followed the February 2013 national election. After two months of deadlock, the PD teamed up in an unnatural alliance with centre right led by Renzi’s predecessor and party colleague Enrico Letta./PPThat government was plagued by instability and ultimately collapsed after 10 months when Renzi pulled the plug on it, saying he could do better at pushing through much-needed reforms. Daniela Santanch

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