Italy votes for stability

Italy votes in regional elections and backs referendum to reduce seats in parliament.

Voters in Italy approved a reduction in the number of parliamentarians in a referendum held on 20-21 September, while a round of regional elections saw the centre-left and the opposition centre-right winning three regions each.

The centre-right coalition - comprising Matteo Salvini's Lega, Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, and Giorgia Meloni's Fratelli d'Italia - won in the right's usual strongholds of Liguria and Veneto, as well as ousting the left leadership of Le Marche.

However the right failed to take the symbolic region of Tuscany, which has been ruled by the left since world war two, in what is seen as a significant boost for the fragile national governing coalition of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) and the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S).

In addition to holding on to Tuscany, the centre-left won in the southern regions of Puglia and Campania.

In the northern Valle d'Aosta region the results are still being counted, with the centre-right reportedly in the lead and results expected later today.

Referendum

In the referendum, voters were asked whether or not to approve a law amending the Italian constitution to reduce the number of MPs in parliament, from 630 to 400 in the chamber of deputies, and from 315 to 200 in the senate.

The yes vote prevailed with 69.64 per cent, compared to 30.36 per cent for the no vote, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, whose M5S was the driving force behind the calls for reform, hailed the outcome as a "historic result."

There was more than 54 per cent turnout in the referendum, reports ANSA, including 108-year-old Luisa Zappitelli who has not missed an election since she cast her vote on whether Italy should be a republic or a monarchy on 2 June 1946.

Photo: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com.