[JURIST] Voters in Italy [JURIST news archive] have decisively rejected amendments to the Italian Constitution [text] that would have given more power to the prime minister and decreased the size of Parliament [JURIST report]. The daily La Repubblica in Rome is reporting that 61.4 percent of voters opposed the amendments in the two-day referendum that ended Monday, while 38.6 percent supported them. The result is an additional defeat for former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], whose government introduced the proposals but was voted out of power [JURIST report] in April, and a victory for Berlusconi's successor, Romano Prodi [official website, in Italian], who campaigned against them.
The amendment package would have changed 50 of the constitution's 139 articles. Provisions would have allowed the prime minister to appoint and fire Cabinet members without presidential approval, give him the power to dissolve parliament, and give Italy's 20 regions the authority to govern health, security and education issues locally. In a statement [text, in Italian] issued on Monday, Prodi pledged to "set up a dialogue" with Parliament on "the reform of the constitution and the electoral law." Reuters has more. La Repubblica has local coverage, in Italian.