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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Referendum relief for Italy press
Ballot papers are seen in a polling station in central Rome, 25 June 2006
The ballots were nearly three-to-one against the reforms

Newspaper commentators in Italy are mostly pleased that voters rejected radical plans to boost the powers of the prime minister and regions in a nationwide referendum.

Differences emerge over whether the result indicates a thumbs-up for the new centre-left government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi.

EZIO MAURO WRITING IN LA REPUBBLICA

In an indecisive, divided and unfathomable country, the citizens... have made a clear and precise choice, which constitutes the most important cultural turning point in Italy in recent years. It was a positive vote because it rejected reforms which were confused and messy, and which would have been dangerous for our country.

PAOLO DEL DEBBIO IN IL GIORNALE

The reforms proposed by the centre-right, which would have revolutionised our institutions and the way they function, were too closely identified with the Northern League. Many voters didn't vote because they disagree with the Northern League rather than the centre-right's reforms. What will happen now? The first result has certainly resuscitated a government already fighting for breath.

LUIGI LA SPINA IN LA STAMPA

The majority of voters, by saying "no" to a plan to change important parts of our constitution, were not expressing a judgment on [Romano Prodi's] premiership. It would be a mistake for the centre-left to interpret the referendum vote as a robust, popular consensus in support of the government's first moves.

MASSIMO FRANCO IN IL CORRIERE DELLA SERA

It was a pleasant surprise, which refuted the predictions that public opinion was tired and demotivated. It shows an electorate prepared to tell the country what it wants. The "no" was against reforms considered to be costly and vague, not against change itself.

STEFANO FOLLI IN IL SOLE 24 ORE

The result of the referendum could not be clearer: it tells us that constitutional reform is not a priority for the Italians. This is not where the root of our problems lies, especially when the proposed changes appear to threaten... national unity.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




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