Two wealthy regions of northern Italy have voted for greater autonomy in referendums.
In Lombardy and Veneto more than 90 percent said “yes“according to preliminary results.
Lombardy which is home to Italy’s financial capital, Milan and the Veneto region around Venice account for about 30% of national wealth.
In both regions many complain they send more taxes to Rome than they get back in public spending and want to halve their contribution.
The president of Italy’s Lombardy region Roberto Maroni has however distanced the vote from the situation in Spain.
“I realise I now have a mandate to carryout the wishes that the Lombardy people. I must go to Rome and obtain, within national unity, more autonomy and more resources, in consideration of the special character of the Lombardy region.”
Critics such as Political scientist Paolo Natale, of Milan University say the polls are a stunt to bolster the right-wing Northern league ahead of a general election next year.
“Many think these referendums are being held for propaganda reasons. (Roberto) Maroni in Lombardy is likely to see this referendum as a tool to give more visibility to the region and his own party (the Northern League party).”
Experts say the votes were a waste of time as Italy’s constitution allows for regions to negotiate with Rome.
If they manage to win more favourable terms it will most certainly be at the expense of Italy’s poorer south.