giovedì 18 settembre 2014

Italy's president concerned over justice stalemate

MPs in 12th vote to fill Constitutional Court vacancies

(ANSA) - Rome, September 17 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Wednesday that "serious issues" have been raised by the impasse in parliament over the election of new members for the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM), the judiciary's self-governing body. His statement came shortly after Justice Minister Andrea Orlando said that he was "concerned" about the stalemate as 856 MPs voted for the 12th time on who is to fill two Constitutional Court vacancies.

They must also elect the two remaining of a total of eight justices to the 24-member CSM. Six CSM candidates have been approved despite the logjam. The quorum to elect Constitutional Court judges is of 570 votes, or three-fifths of parliament, while the quorum to elect members of the CSM is of 514 votes. The impasse in filling the vacancies means a delay in implementing crucial reforms proposed by center-left Premier Matteo Renzi, including justice reforms that could result in an increased workload for the CSM, said Orlando.

Italy's political parties have failed to find agreement on the appointments despite repeated pleas from institutional leaders including Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini and Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso for them to put aside their differences and break the stalemate. The Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) party and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) announced earlier in the day they would submit blank ballots. "We will continue to do so until we are presented with credible, independent names that come from outside the political realm," Senate M5S whip Vito Petrocelli said.

Hopes of a solution that would break the stalemate were pinned briefly on a meeting between the premier and the head of the centre-right opposition Forza Italia (FI) party, Silvio Berlusconi, to discuss the government's reform moves and the parliamentary logjam. However, no new candidates emerged from the meeting, said the deputy chief of Renzi's Democratic Party (PD). 

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