Of the 149 present, 145 had voted in favor of the decree, while only Senators Emma Bonino and Matteo Richetti had been against. The oppositions had decided not to participate in the vote, precisely with the intention of missing the legal number. After a first moment in which it seemed that the vote was valid and the government had therefore gained confidence, there were many protests by the opposition led by Senator Roberto Calderoli, expert in parliamentary regulations and “tactics”. The President of the Senate Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati then communicated that following the recalculation of the legal number, the vote was to be considered null and had to be repeated. Given the late hour, the session was postponed to 9.30 today, 19 June.
The legal number, which is essential for the result of a vote to be valid, is calculated by the offices of the Presidency on the basis of the number of leaves. In essence, the total number of senators is subtracted from those who are justified by absence, which according to article 62 of the Senate regulation must be communicated in writing to the president. The same article provides that the presidency will communicate the names of the senators on leave at the beginning of the session and that a list of “justified absentees” will be posted in the Chamber.
The cancellation of last night’s vote could now put the government in difficulty, which has put the question of trust on the “election decree” and now cannot risk ending up in the minority. According to what he reports Republic many senators yesterday evening, after the decree seemed to have been approved, left Rome to return home to their home territories, as often happens on Thursday evening. The parliamentarians who left, and in particular those of the majority, in the night, after the news of the cancellation of the vote, had to return to be present this morning for the new vote of confidence. Furthermore, the decree, already approved in the Chamber, must be ratified by Friday 19 June, under penalty of forfeiture.
The “election decree” provides for the unification in September of administrative and regional elections and the referendum on reducing the number of parliamentarians in one day. The decree was criticized not only by the oppositions but also by members of the majority such as Emma Bonino, who among other things complained of the tight time for an election campaign that will essentially take place during the month of August and in the difficult conditions of respect of the physical spacing rules of the coronavirus emergency. Furthermore, for the senator, the smaller parties will have only a few weeks to collect the signatures necessary for participation in the administrative and regional elections.