Italy’s new electoral law approved over 5-Star opposition

October 26, 2017

Five-Star Movement activists compose the words Popolo Sovrano (Sovereign People) as they stage a protest in front of the Pantheon in Rome, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement has filled a Rome piazza to protest the expected passage of a new electoral law that will likely hurt its chances in next year's elections. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME (AP) — Italian lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a new electoral law that aims to make Italy more governable by encouraging coalition-building, especially among small parties.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, which has set its sights on national office in next year’s election, had fiercely opposed the legislation since it has ruled out forming alliances and would likely suffer as a result.

The law, which passed the lower house last month and cleared the Senate on Thursday by 214-61 with one abstention, calls for a combination of seats assigned by a majority system based on colleges and proportional voting.

During the voting Wednesday and Thursday, 5-Star lawmakers and supporters protested by wearing blindfolds, saying the college system amounted to asking Italians to vote “blind.”

The 5-Star leaders have urged President Sergio Mattarella not to sign the bill, but he said Thursday that he is bound to sign laws, even if he disagrees with them, as long as they’re constitutional.

The vote had divided the majority Democratic Party in large part because the government had resorted to putting key articles up to a confidence vote to ensure passage.

Several Democrats broke ranks and voted “no.” After the legislation passed, Senate President Pietro Grasso formally left the party and joined a group of unaffiliated lawmakers.

Update hourly