Italians have voted to reduce the number of politicians in the country's parliament by a third, preliminary results suggest, turning out in droves to cast ballots despite the coronavirus pandemic.
At the close of two days of voting on Monday, the turnout in some regions was nearly 60-75 per cent, including those who voted from home or hospitals because they were quarantining or sick with COVID-19.
An army of volunteers, wearing head-to-toe protective equipment, made house calls to ensure that even virus-affected Italians could cast ballots.
Those who went to polling centres had to follow strict protocols on wearing face masks and social distancing, with the elderly given precedence in lines and hand sanitiser stations ubiquitous.
Preliminary results from the Interior Ministry indicated that 69 per cent of Italians voted "yes" on a constitutional referendum to reduce the number of MPs.
The referendum, which was backed by the ruling 5-Star Movement, would cut lower house parliamentarians from 630 to 400 and those in the Senate from 315 to 200.
The 5-Stars' argument that the reduction brings Italy's bloated bureaucracy more in line with other European countries and will save tens of millions of euros a year appeared to sway voters.
Australian Associated Press