Vote on Referendum will be held 1 December

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The Regional administration’s decision surprises the promoters. It will be necessary to reach a quorum of 50% plus 1

By Alberto Vitucci

27 September 2019

The referendum for administrative autonomy for Venice and Mestre will take place on 1 December. This was the decision of the Regional government led by Luca Zaia. The announcement was made in a brief note released from Palazzo Balbi shortly after 7PM. It is a step that bewilders many, starting with the promoters of the referendum. “We are happy, but we had asked for two more weeks…”, commented Marco Sitran, the first signatory of the legal proposal that brought about the referendum, “now we have to remain united”. The resolution establishes that the result will be valid only with a quorum of 50% of votes plus one. This was a step by Zaia that was anticipated by all. Zaia has been pressured by the referendum supporters, and is little disposed to attack his ally Luigi Brugnaro, the metropolitan Mayor who has much at risk if the unionists are defeated. In that case the City would placed under a commissioner, and in May there would be a vote in two distinct cities.

How did we arrive at yesterday’s turn of events? The law requires it. The referendum was fixed for 31 December of last year. Now it has been “ordered” by the Council of State, with the ruling that overturned the conclusions of the judges of the TAR del Veneto, pushing back the appeals of the metropolitan Municipality and City, and defining the referendum as “legitimate”. The arguments of the Municipalities lawyers were dismantled. They maintained that a vote for separation could not be conducted in this way. Denying the referendum, according to the administrative judges, would have been discriminatory against the citizens, who would be deprived of their constitutional rights to register their vote on a change to their local governance. Following the vote it will be decided which will be considered the capital. Now in record time the Region has fixed the date of the referendum, setting it for sooner than predictions or requests, a step which got the President out of a corner, and in some fashion fixes things with his Lega electorate, who are Autonomists but little inclined to go along with the frequent attacks of the separatists.

Mayor Brugnaro has announced that he will not participate in the election. “Voting is a right, but with referenda there also exists the option of not voting as a form of dissent, and I invite people to not vote’. The Mayor inveighed against administrative autonomy: “It would be a disaster”. But he holds to his commitment. “I won’t speak”, he replied. No comment, not even about the date of the referendum just decided by the Region. The first of December is very close. There are only a few days before the campaign begins, but it will be an unusual campaign, quick and without parties. The promoters have only 65 days to convince the electorate to go vote, and to vote “yes”. This will be the fifth time a referendum on separation has been held. The last was in 2003 and fell short of a quorum – until now “No” to separation has always won.

Source: La Nuova Venezia


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