Italian senator files 83 million amendments to block reform
ROME: An opposition lawmaker filed nearly 83 million amendments in a bid to block a reform of the constitution that would reduce Senate powers, Italian media reported on Thursday.
Senator Roberto Calderoli of the Northern League party announced his unprecedented obstructionist efforts the previous day. “I handed in 82,730,460 amendments today,” he told a news conference, saying he submitted them to save Italy’s democracy in the face of a controversial constitutional reform.
“I am almost certain of having beaten all records, Italian and global, in terms of filed amendments,” Calderoli added.
The reform in question aims to turn Italy’s Senate — currently equal in power to the lower chamber of parliament — into a non-elected body with reduced say over legislation.
Under the reform, the Senate would also have no power to topple national governments.
Backers of the reform, proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, say it will give Italy a more stable and efficient government, coupled with other reforms that include a new electoral law that is already on statute books.
Critics say that it will give too much power to the executive, weakening democratic checks and balances.
Calderoli is known to have relied on a special computer algorithm to achieve the feat, telling reporters it was capable of producing “an infinite number of amendments.”
According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, the senator’s resistance will be futile, as the ruling centre-left Democratic Party is determined to push through the reform and secure Senate approval by October 10.
The newspaper said the governing coalition could resort to a procedural clause setting time limits to parliamentary discussions, known as the “guillotine,” which has never previously been invoked for constitutional reform bills.