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Italy's Senate votes to relinquish power

In a major victory for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, his coalition has pushed through constitutional reforms, effectively trimming the Senate's powers. Renzi hailed the vote, saying, "Italy is changing."

In a controversial move, the Italian Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of a constitutional reformation proposal that would effectively curtail its power.

The reform was championed by

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi,

who expended considerable

political capital

to ensure the measures passed.

While a majority of the opposition parties left the 320-seat chamber prior to the vote, the leading coalition - which Renzi heads - won by 178 to 17.

"The long season of inconclusive politics is over. The reforms are being done. Italy is changing," the Italian premier wrote on Facebook.

Italian Constitutional Reforms Minister Maria Elena Boschi hailed Tuesday's vote as a step forward for Italy.

Renzi has said the

reforms would make Italy more governable.

The measures seek to cut the Senate from 320 senators to 100, while stripping the chamber's ability to bring down the government, a phenomenon that Italy has struggled to cope with since its constitution was written after World War II.

However, the law will have to win approval next year by both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies before heading to a referendum.

Renzi has attempted to push through a series of reforms since he took office in 2014, including revamping banking, introducing a new electoral law and reforming the education system.

ls/bk (Reuters, dpa)

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