Da Financial Times del 19/10/2006
Originale su http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2d1a3d08-5f0f-11db-afac-0000779e2340.html

Tensions rise in Italy over electoral system revamp

di Tony Barber

Rome - Tensions surfaced in Italy's ruling centre-left coalition yesterday over whether to change the electoral system, widely blamed for failing to deliver a strong government in last April's election.

The two largest parties in the coalition of Romano Prodi, prime minister, support changes to the system, which relies on proportional representation, whereas several smaller parties are voicing opposition.

The system was introduced last December by the former centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi, Mr Prodi's predecessor, but even Roberto Calderoli, the legislator mainly responsible for designing it, later called it una porcata - "a piece of crap".

Its emphasis on proportional representation prompted leaders of the main centre-left and centre-right parties to form broad coalitions, including tiny groups, with the aim of attracting every possible vote.

For the centre-left, the eventual winner in April, this has meant that Mr Prodi's government is made up of nine parties, ranging from Roman Catholic-oriented centrists to communist hardliners, thatare regularly at odds.

The question of adopting a new voting system acquired urgency last weekend when, for the first time since April, Mr Prodi said Italy should return to a system similar to the one it used from 1994 to 2001. This allocated 75 per cent of seats to the winners of British-style, constituency-based contests and 25 per cent on the basis of proportional representation.

However, at least two small centre-left parties - the Party of Italian Communists and the Popular-Udeur party - raised objections, evidently because such a change may eliminate them from parliament.

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