Two of Italy’s wealthiest regions on Sunday voted overwhelmingly in favour of more autonomy, the BBC reported.
The leaders of the regions of Lombardy, where Milan is located, and Veneto – the region around Venice – said that more than 90% of the electorate in Lombardy had voted yes in the non-binding referendum.
The presidents of both these regions, which account for 30% of Italy’s wealth, are members of the right-wing Northern League that is opposed to the north subsidising the poorer southern part of Italy. Lombardy pays €54 billion (around Rs 4.12 lakh crore) more in taxes to Rome than it gets back in public spending, while Veneto’s net contribution is €15.5 billion (around Rs 1.18 lakh crore), AFP reported.
An ecstatic Veneto President Luca Zaia (pictured above) said the results were an institutional “big bang”.
The votes took place in the backdrop of violence in Spain’s Catalonia region after an independence referendum earlier this month. However, Zaia refused to draw parallels with the situation in Spain, saying that the Italian regions’ aspirations could not be compared to Catalonia’s secessionist agenda.
The Italian government, meanwhile, said it would respect the choice made by voters, Politico reported.