By Adedapo Adesanya
The Italian parliament has voted for the slashing of the number of representatives in both upper and lower houses by 37 percent. This came as the lower house approved a law to reduce the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) from 630 to 400 and Senators from 315 to 200.
The reform was a manifesto promise of the populist Five Star Movement, the main party in Italy’s governing coalition, which had pledged the cut noted that the measure would streamline parliament and save an estimated €1 billion in 10 years.
It was reported that each MP and senator earn €230,000 and €249,600 respectively per annum and with this cut, it is expected to save Italy about €82 million every year.
According to the cabinet secretary, Riccardo Fraccaro, the reduction in the number of MPs is for the benefit of the ordinary citizens.
“It’s the day we’ve been awaiting forever. 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,” he said.
The new law is to be subjected to a referendum before taking effect after the country’s next elections which are due in 2023. However, critics say the move will weaken democracy and increase the influence of lobbyists.
This development is coming on the heels of a similar call in Nigeria by Senator Rochas Okorocha representing Imo West in the National Assembly. He had said last week that Nigeria does not need 109 senators and 360 members of the house of representatives.
He also called for a slash of 70 percent in the pay in order to cut the cost of governance.
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