Italy’s 5-Stars denounce new election bill as undemocratic

ROME (AP) — The lower chamber of Italy’s Parliament on Wednesday approved the first pieces of a new election law that aims to make the country more governable by encouraging coalition-building, especially among smaller parties.

Major parties on the left and right are backing the law, which calls for a combination of seats assigned by a majority system based on colleges and proportional voting.

But it is bitterly opposed by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, Italy’s largest opposition party in Parliament. It has denounced the proposed law as undemocratic.

The 5-Stars have ruled out forming alliances and could be penalized by the new system, whereas small, likeminded parties could band together to put forward candidates for the seats assigned by colleges.

The 5-Stars were particularly irked because the ruling Democratic Party put the measure up to a confidence vote to ensure unity.

At a protest in front of the lower Chamber of Deputies, 5-Star Sen. Nicola Morra said the law would lead to a “distorted” Parliament where tiny parties willing to compromise their positions could hold more weight than bigger parties like his that hold firm to their ideals.

“In a democracy, votes should be representative, not filtered,” he said.

Votes on individual changes to Italy’s election laws were continuing through the week. If successful, the legislation next moves to the Senate. General elections are expected before the spring.

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