Feature

Reform falls flat

The week's news at a glance.

Rome

Italian voters overwhelmingly rejected a package of radical government reforms in a national referendum this week. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had introduced the measure to increase the power of the prime minister and regional authorities. Berlusconi said the changes would provide stability, but Prime Minister Romano Prodi disagreed, and urged Italians to vote “no.” Prodi’s minister for institutional reform, Vannino Chiti, said the package would have created “an awful mess” and opened “all sorts of divisions among Italians.” Voters dismissed the reforms by 62 percent to 38 percent, severely setting back Berlusconi’s chances of holding onto leadership of a coalition of center-right opposition parties.

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