The clash of the new electoral law plan – June 9th 2017

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The main news in this week’s Italian press has undoubtedly been the parliamentary debate over the new Italian electoral law proposal. As described in the previous Italian Politics Briefings, Italy’s  four main political parties (Partito Democratico, Movimento 5 Stelle, Forza Italia and Lega Nord) initially found an agreement over reforming the Italian electoral system along the lines of the German electoral system. Up to yesterday the pact seemed to hold and the Parliamentary Commission for Constitutional Affairs had quickly managed to resolve disagreement over the final details. The text was then brought to a plenary session of parliament and, coup de theatre, the coalition dramatically collapsed.  It fell apart when the moment to vote arrived The four-party coalition had agreed to vote against the electoral law reform bill along with a large number of Congressmen.  Instead, several members of the coalition voted in favor of the bill.  The vote was supposed to be a ‘secret ballot’, but, due to a technical error, the distribution of votes was displayed on the Chamber’s screen,  revealing who voted for and against. It turned out that several parliament members from M5S voted against the coalition.

There was a dramatic fall out on both sides.  The Partito Democratico withdrew from the coalition, announcing the dissolution of the pact.  The only viable alternative now is to hold a new vote in 2018 (at the end of the legislature) under the current electoral law.

Polemics continue to fire up the debate about vaccines, after Health Minister’s decision to render twelve vaccines compulsory for all the pupils under 16 years old with a government decree approved this week. The decree has attracted many critics, especially from M5S’s MPs who argued the government was influenced by pharmaceutical lobbies and cannot compel families to vaccinate their kids. The decree links the vaccination to kid’s access to public kindergarten and preschool and envisages high fines for parents who do not vaccinate pupils going to elementary school, middle school and high school. This last point has raised critics as many observers (included Minister for Education Valeria Fedeli) remarked the risk of undermining the right for every kid to go to school, by linking it to vaccination.

In another relevant piece of news Italian public television company (RAI) announced the appointment of its new CEO after the hard debate followed from the resignation of the previous director, Antonio Campo Dall’Orto. Mr. Campo Dall’Orto decided to resign after the entire Board of Directors (except for one member) did not approved his editorial plan withdrawing de facto its support to him also as head of the Italian public television. The fact acquired more relevance as the Executive Director is directed nominated by the government. The Board of Directors’ decision, and the consequent resignation, sounded like a bold failure of the government who nominated him, led by Matteo Renzi (who strongly supported Campo Dall’Orto at the time of his appointment). The new Executive Director will be Mario Orfeo, Director of Tg1 the current main newscast Director.

The last mention goes to the Italian newspaper l’Unità, which, due to financial troubles, has ceased to publish its paper version after more than 90 years and soon will cease to publish also its on line version. L’Unità was founded in 1924 by Antonio Gramsci, one of the main XX Century Italian philosopher and has been one of the main pillars of the Italian public cultural debate after WWII hosting many intellectuals and writers (from Italo Calvino, to Cesare Pavese, from Pier Paolo Pasolini to Gianni Rodari) as well as some of the Italian most famous illustrators (Andrea Pazienza, Vauro and Sergio Staino among the others).

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