Italy's parliament on Tuesday, October 8 has voted to cut the number of representatives in both the country's upper and lower houses from a whopping 945 to 600 which is more than a third.
In a move backed by all major parties in the country, the parliament has passed a motion which will see the lower house reduce the number of MPs from 630 to 400 and senators from 315 to 200 and this will come into force at the next election in 2023. According to Luigi Di Maio, the leader of the 5-Star Movement, the downsizing of the parliament will save the country hundreds of millions of euros and make parliament more efficient. “This is a historic day. We have finally managed to cut the number of parliamentarians, forever,”
However, critics have challenged the move, saying it will weaken democracy and increase the influence of lobbyists. The new law is potentially subject to a confirmatory referendum as it makes changes to the Italian constitution. "It's done! Promise kept" a blog post from Five Star said after the vote in the lower house on Tuesday.
5-Star further added that the bill which was supported by almost all parties would save the country €1bn (£897m) over 10 years. "It's the day we've been waiting forever," Cabinet Secretary Riccardo Fraccaro said, according to Ansa. "After almost 30 years of broken promises, the cut in MPs and senators is a reality. A new political season is starting, now the citizens are at the centre."
The news agency AGI (in Italian) calculated that as an MP costs €230,000 per year and a senator €249,600, the cuts in the lower house would save €52.9m annually and those in the senate €28.7m. This government next objective is to pass a budget to block a rise in VAT (sales tax), which is set to kick in on 1 January if the government fails to reach its debt-reduction target.