Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lieutenant Chiti

The 'Bonsai' column in Repubblica has, over the past few months, been painting a wonderful picture of Vannino Chiti - Minister in charge of relationships with Parliament - as a type of electoral Lieutenant Columbo. From Wikipedia:

Columbo's signature technique was to exit the scene of an interview, invariably stopping in the doorway or returning a moment later to ask "just one more thing" of a suspect. The "one more thing" always brought to light the key inconsistency.
In like fashion, Chiti has been interviewing representatives from all the parties represented in Parliament, ever willing to come back and ask them just one more question about their ideal electoral reform outcome.

Unlike Columbo, Chiti has not been able to come up with a particularly screen-worthy denouement. Chiti was heard yesterday by the Parliamentary Commission on Constitutional Affairs. Here's the account of the meeting, again from Repubblica:

"Chiti explains that the process starts with the proportional [system]. Without preferences. But, as sought by the referendum promoters, without multiple candidacies. The minister spoke of different hypotheses regarding the threshold, and the effort to introduce a threshold of 5% - starting in 2016. The majoritarian bonus remains in Chiti's scheme, associated with a reduction in the number of parliamentarians... elected in smaller regional constituencies or single member districts on a proportional basis. The bonus will be assigned to the coalition or list which wins over 40% of seats. It will decrease in size, permitting a maximum of 54% of seats to the winders. The bonus will be assigned only if the Senate and Camera have the same majority"
This explanation leaves so many questions unanswered as to be of very little use. Chiti claims to have a text ready to present to Parliament, should they wish it; but it must perforce be a very skeletal one.

Those interested in reading Chiti's presentation to the Committee can find it on the Chamber of Deputies website [shortly].

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