The Italian government on Friday approved plans for a constitutional reform that would significantly boost the prime minister’s powers — a major overhaul in a country with a traditionally weak head of government.
The proposal from Giorgia Meloni’s government, which still requires approval from both houses of parliament and could lead to a referendum, would allow the prime minister to be directly elected by the Italian people for a five-year term, instead of being nominated by the president.
“This is the mother of all reforms,” Prime Minister Meloni said in a press conference.
The proposed bill, Meloni added, aims to ensure “stability” and “guarantee that those who govern are chosen by the people.”
Italy’s prime minister has a traditionally weak role by design. After the Second World War, the country’s modern founding fathers instituted a series of checks and balances aimed at preventing the concentration of power into the hands of a single individual. This, combined with Italy’s fractious political landscape, has contributed to the instability of Italian politics, which has seen 68 different governments in the past 77 years.