Today, the restive northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto will vote in a non-binding referendum on greater autonomy from the central government.
There’s long been a political divide between Italy’s rich north and poorer south. Both Lombardy and Veneto have governors from the far-right Northern League, which has sought full independence from Italy in the past.
Lombardy and Veneto—home to Milan and Venice respectively—account for almost a third of the country’s economy and a quarter of its population. Tax is the main grievance; Lombardy annually sends $63 billion more than it receives back from Rome. The anticipated “yes” vote will prove a powerful argument to push for change.
Despite the rumblings, there is no strong sentiment to break away from Italy. Even the organisers do not want independence; they want a better financial deal.
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John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.