A+ A A-

Italian regions start pursuing greater autonomy in shadow of Catalonia crisis

Milan/Venice, Oct.22 (Reuters).– Political leaders in northern Italy claimed an overwhelming mandate on Monday to seek greater autonomy from Rome after referendums that did not go as far as the independence vote in Catalonia declared illegal by Spain.

Voters in Lombardy and Veneto, both run by the once openly secessionist Northern League, backed the party’s autonomy bid by more than 95 percent, although in Lombardy less than half of the electorate turned out.

In both regions, many people complain their taxes are wasted by the central government, accusing Rome of delivering low-quality public services and diverting money to the poor south widely seen by northerners as corrupt.

“This is the big bang of institutional reforms,” Veneto Governor Luca Zaia told a news conference, announcing plans to begin negotiations on clawing back powers from the central government in 23 policy areas ...

[ Full text