"Mr. Renzi’s proposed reform takes aim at Italy’s unwieldy legislature, which counts more than 900 members in a system with strong checks and balances established in the wake of fascism. The goal, he says, is to make it easier to pass laws, including those meant to strengthen Italy’s sclerotic economy. The overhaul would cut the size of the Italian Senate to 100 from 315 members and strip it of its power to hold votes of confidence on new governments, leaving that responsibility entirely to the lower house. Mr. Renzi says that change would make for more durable governments in a country that has seen more than 60 since World War II," Deborah Ball writes for the Wall Street Journal.
"Prime Minister Renzi has pursued these reforms since coming to office in 2014, and this referendum was called after parliament failed to pass the changes by a two-third majority earlier this year. He argues that a 'yes' vote will provide critical political stability, streamline decision-making, and make it easier to pass essential structural reforms. However, following the Brexit vote and ahead of upcoming elections in 2017 in France and Germany, where anti-establishment parties have been gaining steam, it hardly seems like a propitious time for another European referendum that gives vent to populist, anti-government sentiments," says CFR's Robert Kahn.
"Renzi, after all, isn’t necessarily a typical establishment figure; as the 39-year-old mayor of Florence, he was virtually unknown on the national stage when he rose to power in 2014. Initially, he was nicknamed the ‘rottamatore’ or destroyer, of his party’s expected conventions, attracting many young Italians with his center-left vision of government that wiped out inefficiencies and corruption to support startups and youth employment. Three months after he was voted into power by his party, Italians showed their approval during an European Union parliamentary election, giving a record 40.8 percent of seats to his Democratic Party. But the siren call of change coming from true outsiders may prove irresistible this year," Kavitha Surana writes for Foreign Policy.