Presidents of Lombardy and Veneto, two northern Italian regions, have claimed convincing victories in their autonomy referendums. The two wealthy regions seek more tax revenues and powers from Rome. These events come at a time when the Catalonia region of Spain has fiercely opposed the Spanish domination. These nonbinding votes will help leaders of adjacent regions to push for a better turnout when it comes to discussions with the Center-Left government presently holding sway at the center. Both these two regional Presidents strongly advocate an anti-migrant stance. They are also distinctly anti-European. Both Veneto and Lombardy prefers autonomous powers over policies relating to the environment, immigration, education, and security.
Sponsoring the poorer south
The referendum campaign pushed the agenda that revenues from the northern regions of Italy should be transferred to less efficient southern regions. The Northern League has always batted for federalism. The concept became lost with the advent of political crisis during the 1990s.
Italy's Democratic Party has strongly criticized the referendums, saying that the votes are non-binding, and thus carry no legal weight. There is thus no need to trigger the autonomy negotiations. It added that the event is a needless expense that could be avoided.
Referendum and the people
Luca Zaia, the President of Veneto, said that this marks a significant phase of institutional reform. In his statement made in Venice, he said that Rome should comprehend that the referendum is the will of ordinary people, and not of any political party. President Roberto Maroni of Lombardy said that with votes, both Veneto and Lombardy can unify forces for battle. The leaders said that they will meet with their respective regional councils. Requests will be finalized prior to leaving for Rome. The two will meet Premier Paolo Gentiloni.
The referendums, unlike Spanish-controlled Catalonia, do not want independence. The constitutional court of Italy approved these referendum actions prior to their occurrence. The drive towards autonomy, however, is a potent threat to the authority exercised by Rome. The two regions- Lombardy and Veneto- contribute to nearly 30 percent of the GDP of Italy. They also influence one-quarter of the nation's electorate.
The victory highlights the image of the Northern League for elections due in 2018. It, however, has the power to divide the poor south and rich north. This could be a reality as Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Northern League, went for a greater national profile for his party. The latter was once restricted only to Italy's northern regions.