Friday, November 10, 2006

Meet Ze Monsta

Senate President Franco Marini today defined the new electoral law ¨a monster¨. The law, passed in December of 2005 and already dubbed a ´piece of rubbish´ by its author was criticised for delivering different results in the Camera and in the Senate and for using closed party lists. ¨Citizens are no longer the referees¨, said Marini.

Leaving aside the issue of closed party lists, on which I´m agnostic, it would seem reasonable that either (a) Italy´s system of almost perfect bicameralism without navette or (b) the electoral law be changed, lest Italy be condemned to suffer recurrent constitutional crises or continual government defeats in the Senate. Given that the last attempt to reform bicameralism failed rather badly, it makes sense to change the electoral law.

¨Making sense¨, however, is not always the same as ¨being conducive to partisan advantage¨. Rifondazione Comunista criticised Marini´s rush to reform, and called for a mixed member system along German lines. Antonio Di Pietro (on his blog) criticised Marini´s remarks by claiming that the Unione wished to substitute the current law with an even worse one (perhaps Di Pietro refers to this proposal by Valdo Spini; there is no other current proposal in writing), with excessively high thresholds. Of course, I am sure that these commentators are motivated by preferences over which electoral institutions are best, and that considerations of seat-share play no part in their evaluation.

No comments: