Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi attends a ceremony with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (not seen) to sign deals in Tehran on April 12, 2016
April 13, 2016 12:36 AM EDT

Lawmakers in Italy have signed off on a constitutional-reform program intended to stabilize the country’s volatile system of government, which has historically been marked by high rates of turnover and consequent economic problems.

The reform initiative, spearheaded by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, will drastically reduce the powers of the country’s Senate, granting relatively stronger authority to the lower house, Reuters reports.

Renzi said that it was a “historic moment” for Italy. The legislation will ideally preserve governments for the extent of their five-year terms, which has not happened since World War II. Its detractors say that it will do away with democratic checks intended to prevent the rise of a too-powerful leader like Benito Mussolini.

The proposed reforms will face a referendum later this year.



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