In a referendum conducted on 25-26 June on a constitutional bill on whether to increase the power of the prime minister and devolve more power to the regions, Italian voters rejected the bill by 61.7 per cent to 38.3 per cent.
The bill, which had been sponsored by the Northern League party, who are strong advocates of increased regional power, had been put forward by the previous government led by Silvio Berlusconi. The current government led by Romano Prodi had urged voters to reject the bill.
It would have reduced the powers of the president and allowed the prime minister the power to dissolve parliament, appoint ministers and decide policy. The bill would also have redefined the role of the two chambers of parliament, with the Chamber of Deputies being given increased powers over defence and foreign policy and the Senate being made responsible for federal law. The regions would have won significant powers, becoming responsible for law and order, education and health.
26 June 2006