>>>ANSA/ Renzi's Constitutional reform bill faces further tests
05 Ottobre 2015
(ANSA) - Rome, October 5 - The Senate on Monday continued
voting on the government's hotly contested Constitutional reform
bill aimed at revamping Italy's slow, costly political
The Upper House was called on to read Article 6 of the
41-article bill named after Reform Minister Maria Elena Boschi.
Article 6 calls for changes to Article 64 of the
Constitution, which covers Upper and Lower House rules.
The Boschi bill would add commas saying house rules
"guarantee the rights of parliamentary minorities" and that the
Lower House has authority over the statute of the oppositions.
The government's bill would also specify that members of
parliament have a duty to show up for all parliamentary sessions
as well as the meetings of any committees they may sit on.
Absenteeism is a huge problem among Italy's elected
The Senate in a secret vote struck down an amendment to
Article 6 of the bill filed by the rightwing Northern League,
which had previously filed 82 million amendments to the bill in
an unsuccessful effort at obstructionism.
Voting resumed in the early evening after the Senate
Speaker's council met to discuss disciplinary measures against
Senators Lucio Barani and Vincenzo D'Anna for making obscene
gestures at female colleagues during debate on Friday.
Barani, a Socialist who leads the so-called Liberal-Popular
Alliance - Autonomies (ALA) caucus, allegedly mimed a blow job
in the direction of Senator Barbara Lezzi from the
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S).
D'Anna, also from ALA, allegedly repeated it.
This caused women Senators from various parties to attack
Barani, demanding he apologize, and Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso
had to suspend the session for several minutes in the ensuing
The alleged culprits, however, insisted their gestures had
been "misunderstood", but disciplinary action was taken
nevertheless and the two Senators were suspended for five days
The liberal, center-right ALA emerged from a split from
Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (FI) party and is led by
Senator Denis Verdini, who wants to support the reforms put
forward by center-left Premier Matteo Renzi and his Democratic
On Monday, ex-PD leader Pier Luigi Bersani lamented the new
alliance with Verdini's ALA as "a debasement" of his center-left
party's values and ideals.
Also on Monday, the Speaker's council suspended M5S Senator
Alberto Airola for one day after finding he insulted members of
government and Senate secretaries.
M5S whip Gianluca Castaldi got censured, as did the caucus
of the rightwing, anti-immigrant Northern League party for
waving fake bills in the Senate to imply vote-buying by the
Grasso said the incidents "are so serious they offended
persons and Senators, and undermined the credibility of the
"From now on, no exception to the principle of decorum
will be tolerated," he added, calling on whips to "cooperate" to
avoid further "conduct unbecoming" to parliament.