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2 Wealthy Italian Regions Vote for More Autonomy From Rome

  • VOA News

Lombardy Region President Roberto Maroni arrives for a press conference at the Lombardy Region headquarters, in Milan, Italy, Oct. 22, 2017.

Amid the turmoil in Spain's separatist-minded Catalonia region, two wealthy Italian regions voted overwhelmingly Sunday for more autonomy from Rome.

Referenda were held in Veneto - the northern region that includes the tourist haven of Venice - and in Lombardy, another northern region with the city of Milan as its main attraction.

The presidents of both regions say more than 90 percent of those who cast ballots voted in favor of more autonomy.

Both referenda are non-binding. But the presidents say the voices of their people give them a strong mandate and more leverage when they open talks with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Leaders of both regions want to keep more tax revue and have a greater say over such matters as education, immigration, security, and the environment.

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