In 1953 Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi had to use a confidence vote to force through the Parliament an Electoral Bill which is still known as “the Fraud Bill” since it attributed a majority bonus amounting to no less than 65 percent of the parliamentary seats.
Today Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is going to face a similar battle in the Senate for the final vote on his Electoral Bill which this time bears the more neutral nickname “Italicum”.
Many think – or at least contend in public – that the new law will turn Mr Renzi into a dictator since it will attribute a majority bonus to the party getting more votes (rather than the coalition getting more votes like the “Fraud Law” did) and will allow party leaders to choose more or less 50 percent of the elected MPs by limiting nominal voting.
This is the opinion not only of the opposition, but also of the left wing of Mr Renzi’s Democratic Party. And since Mr Renzi’s majority in the Senate is really narrow, the outcome of the vote is difficult to predict, especially if it will take place by secret ballot.
However, some dissenting senators within Mr Berlusconi’s party could vote the Bill. If it is approved, the battle could restart in the Constitutional Court, which has recently limited majority bonuses in electoral legislation.