Interview: Why Italy’s December referendum is not 'Brexit'

Updated: 2016-10-24 11:11


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Interview: Why Italy’s December referendum is not 'Brexit'

Ettore Francesco Sequi, the Italian Ambassador to China. Photo provided to

Editor's note

The Italian Ambassador to China, Ettore Francesco Sequi, shared his thoughts with China Daily in a written interview about Italy's December referendum on constitutional reform. 

Refuting parallels between the referendum and the "Brexit" vote, Sequi elaborated on the content of the reform,  Italy's efforts to boost its economy as well as the Italian government's pro-European attitude.

1. Italy will have a referendum on Dec 4 over Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's constitutional reform. Could you elaborate on the reform proposals brought up by Mr Renzi, and why is a referendum needed? 

On Dec 4 Italian citizens will be asked to express their preference (for or against) constitutional reform approved by the Italian parliament in April.

Let me read, for your reference, the referendum question.

"Do you approve the text of the Constitutional Law concerning the overcoming of equal bicameralism, reducing the number of MPs, the containment of operating costs of the institutions, the abolition of the National Council for Economy and Labor and the revision of Title V of part II of the Constitution"?

As you can understand from the question, the scope of the referendum is purely internal and does not involve, as wrongly reported by some media, the issue of leaving the EU and it is not a sort of "Italexit".

2. How do you expect the referendum to affect Italy and its policy-making?

The purpose of the law approved by the Italian parliament is to streamline the legislative process, to avoid contrasts of competencies between central and local governments and ultimately to reduce the costs of the political system. In the spirit of the reform, overcoming the so-called "equal bicameralism" would serve to make the legislative process more rapid and effective.

In the new system, the House of Deputies would approve the laws and the Senate would have a limited period to discuss and propose amendments, upon which the chamber would express the final decision.

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