Italy's PM: can I privatize water supply, guarantee private investors a minimum 7% ROI on investments in water supply infrastructure, avoid showing up at scheduled court hearings and build a few nuclear plants, please? NO, you can't
, answered nearly 30 million italians (95%
of the voters, 57% of the people that held the right to vote) in the latest italian national referendum, whose final results are just about to be published (italian)
Italy has an history of asking its citizen to answer difficult questions by holding referendums; on the 2th of June 1946, the citizens visted the polls to answer the most crucial one
: would you like Italy to be a Republic or to remain a constitutional Monarchy? 55% of the voters choosed Republic. The second referendum of May 1974
is considered by many as almost as important to Italians as the first one, as 59% of the voters (with a voter turnout of 87%) decided to retain their recently acquired right to divorce, thus parting with hundreds of years of tradition, in which marriage was a sacred, unbreakable vow. After a referendum held on 1993, italians steadily grew "tired" of referendums, mostly because many didn't believe anymore that the following Governments would have honored the will of the people, and the voter turnouts of the following referendums (with the exception of one of Constitutional relevance) gradually declined to a mere 24% turnout on the June 2009 referendum.
Hence, many wouldn't have given the last referendum of June 2011 a chance, as the PM and his supporting parties were against a popular consultation on these matters (as staunch supporters of privatization as an instrument of development) and asked their supported not to vote, hoping the referendum wouldn't have reached the needed quorum. This strategy apparenly has backfired, as 57% of the voters have decided to vote and, for the first time in the history of italian referendum, a staggering 94,6% of the voters have rejected (by voting yes) mandatory privatization of water supply management, plus a law that would have guaranteed that the price/tarif for water usage would have been set as high as needed to make sure that private investors had "an adequate remuneration" for their investments on water infrastructures, a law that would have allowed the construction of nuclear power plants in Italy (which was previously forbidden by a past referendum) and, last but not least, a law that would have allowed the PM, among other government/parliament key institutional members, to excuse their not showing up at scheduled court hearings with the preeminent need to take part to governmental activities (the so called legitimate impediment
aka temporary criminal