Italy's opposition parties unite for rally against controversial government reforms

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Italy's opposition parties unite for rally against controversial government reforms
Italy's three main opposition parties rallied together on Tuesday to protest controversial government reforms. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP.

Italy's opposition put on an unusual united front at a rally in Rome on Tuesday against sweeping reforms planned by the hard-right government that would hand more powers to prime ministers and regional authorities.


Critics say the reforms would divide Italy between the wealthy north and poorer south, strip parliament of its powers and jeopardise the independence of the judiciary.

Around 2,000 people attended the protest, the first to bring together the leaders of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Greens and Left Alliance (AVS).

The reforms include the election of the prime minister by popular vote, granting more autonomy from Rome for regions and a separation of the training, careers and status of judges and prosecutors.

Around 20 lawmakers brawled in parliament over the autonomy plan on June 13th, with some comparing the punch-up to the days of fascism.

An MS5 deputy was taken to hospital with injuries after being mobbed by members of the pro-autonomy Northern League.

READ ALSO: 'Shameful': What’s behind the punch-ups in Italy’s parliament?

Both the election and autonomy reforms took a concrete step forward after a Senate vote on Tuesday evening and an all-night session in the lower house that ended on Wednesday morning.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party has post-fascist roots, called the electoral reform "a first step forward in strengthening democracy" on social media network X.

The opposition sees the reform, which would entail altering Italy's constitution, as placing parliament under the control of Meloni's office.

Under the plan, a vote of no confidence in the prime minister would trigger the automatic dissolution of parliament.

"We will not allow the right to overturn the constitution," PD leader Elly Schlein told the rally, against a backdrop of Italian, PD and Palestinian flags.


The reform faces an uphill struggle to be written into the constitution.

Any revision must be adopted twice by both houses of parliament and with a minimum of three months between each vote.

If the last two votes fail to produce a two-thirds majority, a referendum must be held. The ruling coalition does not currently have the required votes to see their plans made law.



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