More than 90% of voters in Lombardy and Veneto voted “Si” backing greater autonomy for their regions, which together amount to around 30% of Italy’s national wealth.
The two regions are under the leadership of the party called Lega Nord, which for years has argued that the North is subsidizing the southern regions. These are great victories for Maroni and Zaia, respectively the governors of Lombardy and Veneto.
The voter turnout in Lombardy was around 40%, while in Veneto it almost reached 52%. Great results considering that the usual percentage of the national vote tends to barely pass 50%.
Maroni, the governor of Lombardy, instantly clarified that his region will not be a second Catalonia and that this vote as previously stated is solely about economic autonomy and not separatism.
Maroni also reminded the public that Lombardy annually pays out €54 bn more than it receives from the state, while for Veneto the difference is around 40 bn smaller, around 15 bn.
The recent votes could spark a domino reaction for nearby regions like Ligury and Piemonte, which are two other rich and productive regions. The Italian government released a statement about the results saying that taxes management will not be part of future negotiations.
The central government is not alone in criticizing the actions of the two northern regions, many southerners fear they won’t receive the same amount of founds they have been receiving for years. The leftist parties decided to abstain and mostly suggested their supporters ignore the votes.
Another vocal critic is Mr. Di Stefano, one of the leaders of the far-right organization CasaPound, who claims that these votes go against the interest of the state and compared the voters to “house negros” because according to his point of view these people care more about being selfish and keeping their taxes than leaving the EU.
Most people supporting the referendum believe in meritocracy and believe that corruption in the central government and in the southern regions is to blame for this situation. The country, politically speaking, is in pure chaos and according to one of the leftist leaders and ex-premier Matteo Renzi, almost ungovernable.
Italy will probably hold its elections next year and some critics have accused Lega Nord of exploiting these polls to gain votes for upcoming elections. Lega Nord has always fought for federalism and strengthening the power of regional leaders and they might have finally delivered.