Italians head to polls in key referendum, regional vote

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ROME: Over 46 million Italians are being called to the polls on Sunday and Monday in a nationwide constitutional referendum on cutting the number of lawmakers in the country’s parliament.
Reducing the number of lawmakers is a key platform plank of the Five Star Movement, which currently rules Italy in coalition with the center-left Democratic Party in the government led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Parliament in 2019 approved a law cutting the Lower House from 630 members to 400 and the Senate from 315 to 200. But voters are being asked to ratify this law because it requires changing the country’s constitution.
The exact number of voters involved in the constitutional referendum is 46,415,806, while another 4,537,308 voters who live abroad will be mailing their votes, according to the Interior Ministry.
In addition, voters in seven out of Italy’s 20 regions will choose new governors in what could be a test for the Conte government as it battles to pull Italy out of a recession in the wake of a pandemic-induced March-May lockdown that drove the country’s economy to a halt.
Regional elections are taking place in Valle d’Aosta, Veneto, Liguria, Tuscany, Marche, Campania and Puglia, and will involve almost 18.5 million voters, according to the Interior Ministry. In Italy, a total of 1,820 voters are casting their ballots from home because they are under quarantine, the ministry said.–Agencies