Forget Trump. A bigger vote is upcoming in Italy.
"How could such a beautiful country be such an economic basket case?"
This was the question that W&D posed to Mrs W&D on their first visit to Italy, a few years ago.
Great food, amazing wine, extraordinary history, delightful culture, engaging people. So the list goes on.
But a basket case economy.
The economy is a shambles for many reasons. Bureaucracy is a major one.
Italian bureaucracy is known to be as comical as economically wasteful. For example:
- There are different rules for almost everything in each region of the country
- The World Bank ranks Italy in 50th place in the world for ease of doing business
- A construction permit, on average, takes 225 days to obtain, compared to, for example, 86 in the UK
- It takes seven years to foreclose on assets, compared to two years in France or Germany
Matteo Renzi, the energetic and left-wing Prime Minister, wants to amend the constitution to give more powers to the central government. The referendum will be held on 4th December.
Voters will be asked to back the approval by parliament of Renzi’s ambitious reforms. He wants to strip the Senate of many of its legislative powers and modernize Italy’s rusty institutional framework by speeding-up its sluggish decision-making process.
Opponents of the reforms span the political spectrum, aligning political opponents on the far right and many on the left, including within Renzi’s own party, who have said the change will dangerously weaken Italy’s system of checks and balances.