On Sunday we are called to vote and it seems that many are still not sure about this reforms. I propose my personal reading of this reforms hoping it might be of some help:
We go to the Referendum because “The Law did not pass on its second hearing with the majority of two thirds of the components of both houses” (art. 138).
This reform concerns 47 articles on 139 and is the bigger since 1948, when the Italian Constitution entered into force.
The Senate becomes the representative body of the regional autonomies and will be made of 100 senators (rather than 315), that will not be elected directly by the citizens, but by the regional councils (they will choose 95 senators) and by the President of the Republic (5 senators), staying on the position until the council that has elected them is in force. The regional councils will nominate 21 mayors with a proportional method (one for each region, except for Trentino-Alto Adige that will nominate two) and 74 regional councilors (min. two per region, in proportion of the inhabitants and votes gained by the political parties and two for each of the autonomous provinces of Trentino e Bolzano).
The Second House will be therefore elected on the second level, like the French Senate and the Bundesrat in Germany.
Renzi declared that the Senators will be elected by the regional councils “in conformity with the choice of the voters and the voting procedures will be regulated by a law that will be entering into force if the constitutional reform is approved BUT art. 57 of the same reform says: “the senators are elected by the Regional Councils and Councils of Autonomous Provinces proportionally amongst their components”. Therefore the critic is that any future law that will be against this principal will be considered unconstitutional.
The Trust for the Government will be voted ONLY by the “CAMERA” and not anymore by the Senate. This is justified by the instability of the Governments caused by the double circuit of Trust.
The Senate will participate in the decisions to form and implement of regulatory laws and EU policy documents. Following this it will be evaluating the impact on the territories.
Also on Constitutional Laws and Constitutional Reforms, on linguistic minorities, on popular referendum on the cases of ineligibility and incompatibility with the office of Senator, laws establishing procedures for the election of senators, on the functions of municipalities and metropolitan cities (including Roma Capitale), the specific forms of regional autonomy, the regional and the relationship between regions and foreign states elections.
Every bill passed by the Chamber of Deputies is immediately sent to the Senate of the Republic who, within ten days, at the request of a third of its members, may choose to consider it. Within thirty days after this the Senate can make proposals for modification of the text, on which the Chamber of Deputies to pronounce definitively.
Reform intervenes in the State-Regions jurisdictional disputes, the Constitutional Court that has been called to settle it has a huge amount (intervening on almost sixty sentences in fifteen years), coming to eliminate “competing” areas of expertise like the cases of education, health protection, the territorial government, energy and transport.
The subjects of high relevance for the State according to this Reform need a homogenous framework so the regions will be reclaimed from the decision rights on the environment, the territory, infrastructure and major works (letters v and z, paragraph 2, Article 117).
On all matters, however the principle of the supremacy will be applied where the State Law can intervene in matters not reserved to the exclusive legislative power when the national interest requires it.
There will be the possibility for the Government to exclude from their duties the individual persons holding local government positions, if they have brought their body to financial difficulties.
The state decides the remuneration of the regional elected bodies within the limits of the amount attributed to the mayors of provincial capitals of the region.
For the laws of popular initiative the number of signatures to request the discussions will be tripled, but it will have priorities for discussion and will go directly to the Chamber at least in the reasons claimed by the Government while discussing the reform, but as presented in art.71: “the discussion and the final decision on the proposed popular law are guaranteed in the times, in the manner and within the limits (which? It is not specified) established by parliamentary regulations”, meaning that the specific details will be based on regulations to be written in the future.
On proposing and addressing referendums, it is expected that a new constitutional law – not an ordinary, will be proposed to establish “conditions and effects” of such instruments. Therefore they will not enter in force; it’s only intent to establish it in the future.
The proposal subjected to a referendum (always advanced by five hundred thousand voters or a minimum of five regional councilors) is approved if the majority of those eligible will take part in the voting, or if advanced by eight hundred thousand voters, the majority of voters in the last election of the Chamber of Deputies will be necessary, and if it reaches the majority of the valid votes.
Art. 77 of the new reform seeks to intervene on the enormous use of decree laws by the Government establishing that the Government cannot regulate with the constitutional matters, electoral, legislative delegation, the conversion into law of decree, authorizing the ratification of treaties International and approval of budgets and accounts.
It is also specified that the Government cannot reiterate provisions adopted by decrees not converted into law or restore the effectiveness of the law that the Constitutional Court declared illegal for defects not related to the procedure. Finally in the decree there cannot be included provisions unrelated to the subject matter. The time length remain the same as on promulgation (on penalty of forfeiture) at least of 60 days unless the PDR decides to return them before the promulgation to the chambers which will then have a 30 more days for any changes.
The Senate may conduct inquiries on matters of public interest only if concerning territorial autonomies.
The quorum for the election of the PDR is lowered after the seventh ballot.
Only the Chamber may be dissolved, not the Senate.
Provinces are abolished and their functions are distributed among municipalities, regions and metropolitan cities and it will also be abolish the CNEL: The National Council of Economy and Labour. An advisory body for the Chambers and the Government for matters attributed to it by law, had the right to legislative initiative and could contribute to drafting economic and social legislation but in practice it presented such a low number of proposals, it become useless for the State to maintain it.
The obligation of transparency in the Government Administrations will enter into force and with it the access to the documents.
There is an ongoing debate on whether to change the Italicum (electoral law), which gives a large reward for the majority (340 seats out of 630) to the list obtaining at least 40 percent of the vote in the first round or wining in the second round . The Italicum together with constitutional reform give strong power to the government, expression of that majority.
The criticism that it gets is that it weakens the parliament reducing its representativeness, increasing that of the Government, it alters the counterweight system, diminishing the role of the Senate and takes away power to the regions.
This reform is only addressed to the European Union and the now established interdependence of institutions, national and international, which require immediately operational decisions for a greater facilitation of the European constitution process.