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Italy votes to cut number of MPs and senators by more than a third

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Italy votes to cut number of MPs and senators by more than a third
Italy's chamber of deputies in September 2019. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
09:24 CEST+02:00
Italy's parliament on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to approve slashing the number of lawmakers in new constitutional reforms.

Italy currently has the second-highest number of lawmakers in the EU after Britain - some 630 elected representatives in the lower house and 315 in the Senate.

Cutting the total number of MPs and senators in Italy by 345 – a move dubbed the "taglia poltrone" by Italian media - was a flagship manifesto promise of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is now in power as part of a coalition government, after promising voters it would tackle political elitism and wasteful spending.

The move, linked to broader electoral law reforms, was passed by 553 Mps, with just 14 voting against and two abstentions.

"It's done!" the M5S said on its blog. "Promise kept."

The constitutional reform, which could be subjected to a popular referendum in the coming months, also needs to pass in Italy's upper house.

It cuts the number of MPs to 400 and senators to 200 from the next legislature, with an expected saving of some 100 million euros a year.

Five Star Movement leader and Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio. Photo: AFP

Italy currently has the second-highest number of lawmakers in the EU after Britain - some 630 elected representatives in the lower house and 315 in the Senate

Italy's current left-leaning government also hopes the planned constitutional reforms, which also include changes to electoral law, could help keep the populist right from power.

Critics have warned however that the cut could affect popular representation, and increase the influence of lobbyists over governing institutions - all for a minimal saving that will have little effect on debt-laden Italy's book balance.

Italy currently has one of the highest numbers of lawmakers in the EU - some 630 elected representatives in the lower house and 315 in the Senate.

Italy also has the third-highest number of lawmakers in the world, after China, which has nearly 3,000 members of parliament, and the UK, with a total of 1,443 (793 of which are unelected members of the House of Lords, or upper house).

This was Italy's eighth attempt to cut its number lawmakers since 1983, according to the Open news website.

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