PM Renzi finally gets local government reform
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi managed to get local government reforms through the lower house or Chamber of Deputies yesterday by 260 votes to 158.
The reforms will see a change to the system of governance in the 110 provincial governments. In future there will be no direct elections and instead the provinces will be run by officials selected by city councillors and mayors.
The reform which also creates new metropolitan areas and merges a whole tranche of smaller municipalities is said to cut around 3,000 elected local politicians and save anything between €500 million and €800 million per annum.
Mr. Renzi is having a tougher time of getting his reforms of the upper chamber or Senate accepted. Earlier this week the Cabinet agreed to reform the Senate by taking away its law making powers and make it an assembly of local government representatives. This change was approved as part of the bill covering local government but it still has to pass through the Senate. Unsurprisingly, 22 lawmakers from the prime minister’s Democratic Party (PD) have submitted an alternative bill which would make the Senate into a directly elected chamber with 106 members; currently the Senate has 320 members.