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Italy's Senate speaker says over 70 million amendments to key reform bill 'inadmissible'

29 settembre 2015 | 19.25
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Italy's upper house of parliament speaker on Tuesday rejected more than 70 million amendments to the government's flagship constitutional reform bill presented by the anti-immigrant Northern League party, declaring these unfeasible.

Pietro Grasso said he needed to respect the parliamentary calendar and could not examine "an abnormal number of amendments, without (setting) a precedent that would allow parliamentary proceedings to be blocked indefinitely."

"For this reason...I consider the amendments not so much as unacceptable as inadmissible," said Grasso, who has the last word on the matter.

Northern League senator Roberto Calderoli used computer software to draft 82,730,460 amendments to the bill, which generates endless variations of sentences by changing punctuation or individual letters.

He later withdrew around 10 million of the proposed changes, but that still left far more than parliament could feasibly examine.

Calderoli claims the constitutional reform bill is undemocratic, as it would replace the Senate with a much less influential second chamber of regional representatives, which would not be directly elected by Italians.

Grassio's decision came as a victory for Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi, who wants to have the reforms - a centrepiece of his term of office - adopted by October 13.

The anti-establishment Five-Star Movement presented 117 amendments to the bill, which is aimed at streamlining Italy's legislative process and easing its notorious political gridlock.

Grasso said some 385,000 amendments presented to the reform bill remained to be examined.

The bill, which is receiving its third reading in the Senate, has faced stiff opposition, including from rebels within Renzi`s own Democratic Party.

If passed by the Italian parliament, the electorate will vote on the reforms in a referendum expected sometime in 2016.

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