venice - Residents of the northern Italian regions of Veneto and Lombardy have been called on to vote in a referendum on more autonomy on Sunday. Unlike the Spanish region of Catalonia, there is no vote on independence but about whether Veneto and Lombardy should have more control over, among other things, the management of their finances, education and healthcare.
Also, the proponents of more autonomy want a greater role of the regions in collecting taxes. The public consultations are not binding. The initiators hope that a large majority of voters will express themselves for more autonomy. The drivers of the regions would then become stronger in negotiating with Rome about more powers for Lombardy and Veneto.
'Compared with Catalonia, this is in a legitimate referendum,' said Matteo Salvani of the Lega Nord about the popular consultation in Lombardy. 'The police are present at the polling stations and helps the people who are going to vote. 'The Lega Nord earlier called for the secession of northern Italy, but some time ago the group dropped that claim.
The polling stations are open at 07:00 and close at 23:00. The results are expected Monday.