Meloni is aiming for the premiership and infuriates the opposition (except Renzi). But there is the puzzle of the electoral law


By John

Never, ever would the President of the Republic express technical or political judgments on a reform that affects his powers. Which means: even if there were informal discussions with the government before the text arrived in the Council of Ministers, this does not mean that there is any agreement. Thus from the Quirinale they explain Sergio Mattarella’s attitude towards the reform of the reforms that the Executive intends to launch in a very short time. However, it will take a very long time for its possible approval. In fact, it is a purely governmental constitutional reform which the opposition have already announced that they will oppose harshly, “both in the Chamber and on the streets”. And which, predictably, failing to obtain two thirds of the expected consensus will be the subject of a confirmatory referendum which promises to be very divisive for the country. So much so that several are already ready for action «Committees for no». Without considering that the debate has already begun on what the electoral law will be that must accompany this form of premiership (there are no examples to look at in Europe). It seems likely that the government wants to accompany – perhaps between the first and second reading – the reform with a new electoral law. The Head of State does not comment on the merits – just as he did not comment on the reform of perfect bicameralism wanted by Matteo Renzi and then rejected by the citizens at the polls – but he would have no obstacles in authorizing the presentation of the reform to the Chambers, as there are no constitutional earthquakes such as a return to monarchy, to take an extreme example. After that, he assures himself, there will be no interference, requests for changes or vetoes.

Certainly the text profoundly affects the powers of the President of the Republic and the government seems to be aware of this, as demonstrated by the weakening of the provision on the powers of the Quirinale. So much so that, we learn from majority sources, between now and Friday one of the sensitive points of the project could be tweaked, i.e. the so-called “anti-reversal rule”. Which reads as follows: «The President of the Republic can confer the task of forming the Government on the resigning Prime Minister or on another elected parliamentarian in connection with the elected President” to implement the program on which confidence was requested. In fact, it is weakened one of the strong powers of the Quirinale and many, among the oppositions, fear the risk of constitutional findings with respect to a position that would pass from a figure legitimized by the citizens to one that would not be so. Also for this reason, among the hypotheses there would also be that of widening the ranks to include personalities – even outside the majority – who are however committed to implementing the programme. But in this way – it is also noted – the specter of technical government would reappear. Even more complex is the issue of electoral law which today seems like a detail, but which could instead represent a puzzle for the project. In fact, a piece of electoral law is constitutionalized where the article on the reform of the premiership provides for “a prize assigned on a national basis which guarantees candidates and lists linked to the Prime Minister 55 percent of the seats in the Chambers”. In short, if the rationale behind this article is clear, i.e. political stability, it is less clear to understand how to avoid a ruling from the Council. In fact, in 2014 the Constitutional Court blocked the “Porcellum”, highlighting how the absence of a minimum threshold with respect to such a strong majority bonus (at the time it was set at 54 percent) made the system dangerous. In essence, even someone who gets only 20 percent of the votes could reach 55 percent of the seats. But a minimum threshold, for example 40 percent, would introduce the need for a double shift in case the objective was not hit on the first try. A possibility that does not seem to enjoy much auspices within the government majority.