Italian Court Declares Parts of Electoral Law Unconstitutional

The Italian Constitutional Court declared parts of the country’s election law illegitimate, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Enrico Letta to push new rules through parliament.

The Rome-based court overturned a measure in the law that prevents voters from directly choosing representatives in parliament and one that awards extra seats to the party or coalition that gets the most votes, it said today in an e-mailed statement. The ruling will take effect when the decision is published in the coming weeks.

The decision will push Letta, 47, to accelerate his plans to rewrite the law, which the government had planned to change by the end of next year. All of the four biggest political parties have criticized a law known in Italy as “the pigsty” for fragmenting representation in parliament and leading to government instability.

The ruling doesn’t take away parliament’s legitimacy and members could remain in office until 2018, Cesare Mirabelli, a former president of the Constitutional Court, said in a phone interview. “That seems highly unlikely to me in light of this ruling,” he said. Electoral reform “was one of the most urgent things to do, and now it becomes so in an absolute way.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Frye in Rome at afrye@bloomberg.net; Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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