September 12, 2016
Renzi and his internal opposition
The big event in the European calendar this quarter will be the Italian referendum on constitutional reform, due in late November or early December, which the polls suggests could be a knife-edge decision. Over the weekend Matteo Renzi made another attempt to lure some of the critics from inside his own party, by proposing changes to the electoral law which already came into force in July (and which is not part of the constitutional reforms). The new electoral law has a winner-takes-all rule to ensure that the strongest party can govern the country with a comfortable majority. Speaking at a rally in the southern Italian town of Catania, Renzi said he accepted criticisms that he had connected the vote to his own personal future. He will no longer do so. La Repubblica quotes him as saying that the critics should not forget that these reforms had been long-standing PD policy. They were supported by its predecessor parties in 1994 and 1996. Why would anyone want to oppose a system that has twice the number of representatives than the US? Or the abolition of the economic advisory body CNEL - a junket for economists - that has accumulated costs without adding a single euro to the country's GDP. Corriere della Sera notes that his internal opponents are not impressed. They quoted several party rebels as saying that they would not change their mind, and some even detected a step backwards in Renzi's speech.