Italy has voted to cut the size of the country’s parliament by more than a third.
Almost 70% of people voted in favour of the change, with almost all votes counted.The number of MPs in the lower house will be reduced from 634 to 400. The senate will also be downsized.
The referendum was pushed by the Five Star Movement, part of the governing coalition, which argued that the move would reduce costs.
It was held alongside several key regional elections, where the results were seen as a setback for far-right League leader Matteo Salvini and a boost for the centre left, which is part of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s coalition government.
What the referendum result means
The total number of MPs and senators will be cut from 945 to 600. The change had already been pushed through parliament.But it needed to be backed by a referendum because it amends the constitution. The changes will have to be made before the 2023 election.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, a senior Five Star figure, described the result as “historic”.
“We can go back to having a normal parliament, with fewer privileges and 345 fewer seats,” he said.Last October, Five Star said streamlining parliament will save the country €1bn (£918m) over 10 years.
However critics argue that the move will weaken democracy.
What happened in the regional vote
Opposition League leader Matteo Salvini had been seeking big gains in the elections, however the right appeared to win only the eastern region of Marche.
It stayed in charge of two other regions.
The centre-left Democratic Party held on to three regions it already rules, including Tuscany and Puglia, according to near-complete results.
Tuscany centre-left candidate Eugenio Giani said the centre left’s success was an “extraordinary victory”.
In Veneto in the north-east, popular League president Luca Zaia won a crushing victory with 75.9% of the vote. He is seen as a potential party rival to Mr Salvini.
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