The Italian Senate has voted 228 to 33 in favour of passing a Bill which has as its focus the curtailment and punishment of corruption. Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, used a procedure whereby Parliament was asked to give a vote of confidence, which accelerated the Bill's passage through the upper chamber of Parliament. The Bill will now need to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies before it becomes law.
The legislation seeks to tackle corruption in various ways. If enacted, the legislation will:
- broaden the definition of corruption;
- make influence-peddling a crime;
- toughen punishments;
- prevent convictions being defeated by statute of limitation defences; and
- improve transparency with regard to the funding of political parties.
The Bill has been awaiting approval for two years, having initially been proposed under Silvio Berlusconi's Government. However, the new administration has made substantial changes to the Bill, which take a tougher stance on corruption. The primary reason for the delay was the disagreement as to whether politicians convicted of corruption offences would be prevented from running for office. The amended Bill seeks to ensure that corrupt politicians will no longer be able to stand in elections.