Rome, Aug 8 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s top court on Monday approved a list of over 500,000 signatures required to hold a national referendum on political reforms the centre-left government says will guarantee stable executives.
“Now we can say that this is a referendum belonging to the Italians,” tweeted premier Matteo Renzi, who has staked his future on its success.
The green light from Italy’s Court of Cassation clears the way for the referendum, which is expected to be held this autumn.
Opposition lawmakers quickly urged Renzi’s government to set a precise date for the vote after the top court’s ruling. It has 60 days to do so.
“Renzi must stop leading Italian citizens a merry dance and immediately set the date on which they will vote in the constitutional referendum,” the grassroots Five Star movement said in a statement .
“The government needs to set a date for the vote now,” tweeted Renato Brunetta of the conservative Forza Italia party.
Italy’s parliament has already approved the planned reforms under which the upper house Senate will be abolished as an elected chamber and replaced with regional councillors and mayors.
Critics claim the reforms weaken parliamentary democracy, reducing checks and balances on the executive guaranteed by Italy’s post-war republican constitution.
Renzi has vowed to resign if Italians don’t back the constitutional changes he claims are the only way to end decades of short-lived governments that have hampered efforts to revive the country’s debt-laden economy.