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The referendums of Veneto and Lombardy shake the Italian electoral board

The emphatic victory of the Yes obliges all parties to take note of the autonomist claims of the north in the face of the spring elections

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The referendums of Veneto and Lombardy shake the Italian electoral board

The political halls of Rome saw on Monday how old ghosts of North came back out of closet. Lombardy and Veneto, two of Italy's three richest and most industrialized regions, demanded more autonomy on Sunday in two referendums. That is, greater competencies and a portion of taxes that balance its fiscal deficit. The participation surpassed expectation and put back on Italian political map, after years banished, an uncomfortable debate a few months for elections.

The data confirms phenomenon. Participation was key to defining success of two non-binding and foreseen consultations in Constitution that will serve to pressure Rome when negotiating. In Lombardy, without a quorum, three million people voted, 38.26% of census (95.29% in favour). In Veneto, where half plus one was required to be exceeded, an influx of 57.2% was reached, with 98.1% of yeses. So that presidents of both regions, Roberto Maroni (Lombardy) and Luca Zaia (Veneto), two old foxes of Italian politics placed in profile until last minute if experiment went wrong, rushed to announce tipping point that It will be this query. "The Big Bang of institutional reforms", he defined it without false modesty President Veneto.

The pretensions of Maroni and Zaia, which encrypt fiscal deficit of Lombardy and Veneto in 54 billion and 18 billion respectively, are very high. Zaia breaks deck and asks directly for special status, as already have five or regions (Trentino-Alto Adige, Sicily, Sardinia, Aosta Valley and Friuli Venezia Giulia). Maroni claims 90% of its taxes and transfer of 23 competencies to a region that contributes 20% of Italy's GDP. A completely unacceptable demand in Rome, which has already described it as "provocation". But it is starting point of a new political battle with a certain vintage flavor.

Renzi recognizes strength of autonomism

The Secretary general of PD, Matteo Renzi, whose policy has not gone so far in federalist direction — constitutional referendum he lost proposed to contrary — should also take note of outcome. Especially now that it lacks allies to face elections.

On his Facebook wall, Renzi has done this analysis, almost electoral. "The message is not Catalan drift or secession of Padania." It is serious: more autonomy, more efficiency and fiscal fairness. "It is No coincidence that y voted 900,000 more people than y voted for Norrn League and autonomist parties." Renzi also recognizes that impulse in regions that governs its party. But your proposal, for time being, is to lower taxes.

The result of Sunday adds a new element to uncertain political scene to which country is heading in upcoming spring elections. The Autonomista project, in a still very centralist nation and with a huge social and economic gap between North and south, reemerges with force at a convulsed moment in Europe and in midst of sovereignty challenge in Catalonia. And this time Norrn League is not alone in ir claims.

Silvio Berlusconi, who plays better than anyone music that sounds at every moment, aimed at cause at last minute to Forza Italia. Some mayors of Democratic Party (PD), like that of Milan or Bergamo also openly supported it. And region of Emilia-Romagna, second richest in Italy and a traditional feud on left, has also begun a process to claim transfer of some skills and improve its funding. So political current reborn in North threatens to drag dangerously to those who do not aim, to a greater or lesser extent, to this movement in following elections. How to combine it with game that is played in South?

The discomfort of Salvini

Precisely, paradox of phenomenon allows to observe discomfort of a part of Norrn League, converted today in a party of national court, sovereignty and antiimmigration by Matteo Salvini, who has gone unnoticed whole campaign. Since becoming his secretary, as noted by professor of public opinion and political behavior at Luiss University, Lorenzo de Sio, he placed mute on this subject in political discourse of party. The secessionist and insolidarity story of his founder was disappearing from agenda as Umberto Bossi himself, condemned for stealing his own party. "His party is today a radical, right-wing, populist formation with a national platform." He suppressed accent against south and put it on immigrants to build a type [Marine] Le Pen party.

A move that provoked underground collision with leaders like Maroni (former minister of Interior with Berlusconi) or Zaia, guardians of some essences of traditional line of league and who have gained a great political weight this Sunday. An embarrassing situation within party which, again, will be able to take advantage of Silvio Berlusconi when he touches elect leader of coalition of right to form with North League and negotiate with a Salvini surrounded by wolves. A weekend, in short, that will shake entire Italian political board.

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