Separation Referendum, Zaia ready with the date: “We will do it this Autumn”

The announcement: a decision at the next Regional Assembly

Venezia. In about a week the Region will set the date for the referendum regarding the separation of Venezia and Mestre. So said President Luca Zaia, who made this promise yesterday: “This is a commitment that we have undertaken, a fulfillment of the wishes of the Regional Council, which obliges the administration to set a date for the referendum”. The possible date could be in Autumn, and the supporters of autonomy have already stated their hypothesis: at the end of September, predicted Venice lawyer Marco Sitran. “At the next meeting of the administration we will set a date for the vote on the referendum regarding the separation of Venezia and Mestre, independently of the courts”, assured the Governor. In fact it was in court where the lawyers for the Region, the City and the Metropolitan area left with a handshake last 21 February, all agreeing to request an update to the first hearing given the insistent voices that declared the setting of a referendum date to be imminent. The administrative judges delayed this until 21 March, and this is the date to mark on the calendar because for the first time there will be discussion of an administrative act concerning the affair: the setting of a date for the referendum. The City and the Metropolitan area governed by Mayor Luigi Brugnaro do not want the referendum, and until now have challenged each act that paves the way for the referendum. There are two and they are not administrative acts but rather political: the decision taken by the Regional Council allowing the undertaking the fifth referendum since 1979 asking Veneziani and Mestrini if they want to remain one city or to go two separate ways; and the decision to allow only residents of the capital city to vote, in order to not confuse the aim of this referendum (to divide the two cities, and that’s all) with that of another referendum (the division of the capital city for the vote of a metropolitan Mayor) which was established by the Delrio law regarding Metropolitan Cities.

The Region is on the other side of the legal fence with respect to the City and Metropolitan area, and holds the referendum to be legitimate, but has moved with legal caution for months in order to avoid challenges to the legitimacy of the referendum, which would oblige them to explain to the Corte dei Conti why they had spent hundreds of thousands of Euro on an illegitimate referendum. Therefore Palazzo Balbi would also like to know what the courts think of the issue. “The decision is ready: I only need to set the date, regarding which I have requested an analysis to evaluate the pros and cons based on the regional law number 25 – explained Zaia – In any case, even though I can assure you that I have excellent relations with the Mayor of Venezia Brugnaro, the referendum is not up for discussion: I must ensure the fulfillment of the commitment made by the Regional Council”.

Source: Corriere della Sera  7-March 2018

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