After Catalonia referendum, Italy’s regions Lombardy and Veneto to vote for autonomy
Voters in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto were voting today in referendums on autonomy, against the backdrop of Catalonia’s push for independence from Spain.
The consultative votes are only the beginning of a process which could over time lead to powers being devolved from Rome.
Secessionist sentiment in the two wealthy regions is restricted to fringe groups with little following.
Nonetheless, with both regions expected to vote in favour of the principle of greater autonomy, analysts see the referendums as reflecting the pressures that resulted in Scotland’s narrowly-defeated independence vote, Britain’s decision to leave the EU and the Catalan crisis.
The level of turnout will have a critical bearing on the significance of the results. In Veneto, it has to pass 50 per cent for the result to be considered valid.
There is no threshold in Lombardy but low voter participation would weaken the region’s hand in any subsequent negotiations with the central government.
European Parliament chief Antonio Tajani today took care to distinguish between Catalan’s chaotic independence referendum, deemed illegal by Madrid, and the votes in Italy.
“First of all these two referendums are legitimate, that was not the case in Catalonia,” he told the Rome daily Il Messaggero.
“In Spain, it is not …read more