Lombardy, Veneto to vote for greater autonomy
7 October, 2017
Two of the wealthiest regions in Italy, Lombardy and Veneto, will seek a greater autonomy at the regional referendums, scheduled for 22 October. Veneto Governor Luca Zaia had initially called for a vote asking Venetians if they wanted to secede from Italy, but after Italy's Constitutional Court blocked that plan, voters will now be asked if they want the region to receive “further forms and particular conditions of autonomy.”
Both Lombardy and Veneto's governors belong to the far-right Northern League party, which is built on a platform of independence for Italy's northern regions, Italian media recall. Last Sunday party leader Matteo Salvini distanced the Northern League from the Catalan independence movement, noting that Italy's regional referendums, while not legally binding, have been organized legally, unlike the Catalan vote which was judged illegal by the Spanish government. “Ours is a completely different choice from Catalonia,” Salvini said. “We have chosen the peaceful path, respecting the rules and managing it better. On 22 October, there will be no police.” But despite criticising the methods of the referendum organisers, Salvini also spoke out against the Spanish government for its heavy-handed response, saying “a government that uses violence to empty and close polling booths, using violence against children and the elderly, is shameful.”
The Northern League president of the Lombardy region, Roberto Maroni shared support for the Catalan voters on Twitter, using the hashtag '#PopoloSovrano' (Sovereign people).