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  • During the vote on Premier Matteo Renzi’s controversial election reform bill nicknamed the “Italicum,” the leftist MPs from Nichi Vendola’s Sinistra Ecologica Liberta’ party wore black mourning bands. But the Renzi bill sailed through the Chamber of Deputies with a comfortable margin, leaving Italy itself more victor than funeral parlor. “Not everyone is on board, but the ship is sailing forward,” said an obviously relieved Renzi.
  • Spring is busting out all over Italy, but the political climate remains deep winter. Premier Matteo Renzi, whose popularity had been robust at almost 40% in January, is watching his once firm grip on politics slip to today’s 33%. Meanwhile the stormy problems facing his government – public works, migrants, election rules – would challenge any leader anywhere.
  • It's a done deal: on Wednesday the Chamber of Deputies passed a revised election law dubbed the "Italicum," with 365 votes in favor, 156 nays and 40 abstentions. The new law, whose aim is to promote governing stability in a country where the political parties are locked in a three-way split, now passes to the Senate for debate and approval. But Premier Matteo Renzi's point was also to show that he can make good on his promises to bring change.