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Electoral reform bid fails in Italy

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Electoral reform bid fails in Italy

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A bid to shake-up Italy’s political system has failed because not enough people voted in a nationwide referendum.

Italians were asked whether they wanted to reform electoral laws, effectively giving more power to bigger parties. But fewer than half the 50 percent of voters required to participate, cast their ballots. The outcome is good news for Roberto Calderoli’s Northern League party which urged abstention. Pointing to the record low referendum turnout, Calderoli, the Minister for Legislative Simplification, said the proposed changes would have damaged democracy as a whole. The proposals would have limited the role of smaller parties which have often brought governments to their knees in Italy. While voters failed to back this referendum, the man behind it says political parties have acknowledged the need for reform. Referendum initiator Mario Segni hopes parliament itself will now take steps in this direction. The ballot coincided with the second-round of local elections in which Italy’s embattled opposition left managed to limit the damage from the first round of voting.