Italy’s highest court is set to give a green light on Monday (8 August) for a national referendum due to take place in the autumn on a major constitutional reform, daily la Repubblica reported on Saturday.
The referendum, in which people can vote on a series of changes to the country’s constitution, will be a big test for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government.
Much like Brexit in the UK, the referendum is increasingly being seen as a way for Italians to air their general discontent with the establishment.
Renzi has said he would resign if people voted against the reforms, one of the main pillars of the agenda of his centre-left government.
Fresh from its successes in last month’s local ballots, the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement (M5S) is now Italy’s most popular party and would easily win if a national election were held today, three opinion polls showed this week.
The new rules, approved by parliament in April, aim at increasing political stability and ending decades of revolving-door governments that have made it difficult to revive the country’s debt-ridden economy.
The court had 30 days to examine signatures in a petition needed to call the referendum, which totalled more than the 500,000 threshold required by law, but reached a decision quickly, la Repubblica reported.
The court is due to hold a press conference on Monday to give its approval, the paper said.
Under Italian law, the government will then have 60 days to set a date for the vote, which must be held on a Sunday.
In July, Renzi said the referendum could be held either October 9 or November 6.
“I think, as with every referendum, the Italian constitutional referendum will not only be fought over the substance of the legislation, but a whole number of issues will come to play, and one of those will be the banking crisis,” Vincenzo Scarpetta, a political analyst with Open Europe, said in an interview with the Guardian.
Italian financial institutions have agreed to set up a €5 billion fund to shore up weaker banks, in a state-orchestrated plan to avoid a crisis in the eurozone’s fourth-biggest banking sector.