The Italian people have overwhelmingly voted to slash the size of the country’s parliament by more than a third as a cost cutting measure.
The number of MPs in the Lower House will be cut from 630 to 400 and senators from 315 to 200 after almost 63 per cent voted in favour of the reduction.
The ‘Yes’ vote was supported by the Government Coalition which includes the Democratic Party and the Five-Star Movement.
It confirmed a constitutional amendment that had already been pushed through Parliament.
The reduction will be implemented before the 2023 election.
The Italian people have overwhelmingly voted to slash the size of the country’s parliament by more than a third as a cost cutting measure (polling station in Salerno, Italy, pictured)
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, a senior Five Star figure, described the result as ‘historic’.
He added: ‘The one achieved today is a historic result. Let’s go back to having a normal Parliament, with 345 seats and fewer privileges.
‘It is politics that gives citizens a signal.’
The referendum, which was held alongside several key regional elections, was pushed by the Five Star Movement who argued that the move would reduce costs.
Last October, it said streamlining parliament would save the country €1billion (£918million) over 10 years.
But critics have argued that the move will in fact deliver minimal cost-saving benefits.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio (pictured), a senior Five Star figure, described the result as ‘historic’
They also warned that cutting the chambers’ size could end up hindering democratic representation and weaken parliamentary authority.
‘The savings brought by these reforms will be negligible’, Cecilia Sottilotta, assistant professor of International Relations at Rome’s American University, told Euronews.
‘If these savings, in the larger picture, are irrelevant but go to have an impact on political representation in the country then that’s a problem’, she said.
The referendum comes as Italy continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic after recording 1,350 new infections and 17 COVID-19 deaths on Monday.