Monday, November 23, 2009

Secessão: Padania

Italy: New book foretells north's secession

Milan, 20 Nov. (AKI) - A new book which envisages the north of Italy seceding from the "thieving" south has been selling well in the country's northeast. The book entitled, 'Italian Brothers?', canvasses the potential of the northern Veneto and Lombardy regions declaring independence after Italy's regional elections next year.

Buoyed by strong gains in the regional elections, the book foresees the Northern League failing to back the government led by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's ruling conservative People of Freedom party in a confidence vote, bringing it down.

A 'national unity' government is then formed and led by economist and former European Union competition commissioner Mario Monti as prime minister.

Despite initial promises of financial rigour, the new government cancels the debts of the southern cities of Naples, Taranto, Reggio Calabria and Palermo.

In the book, Italy's current agriculture minister, Luca Zaia (photo) from the anti-immigrant Northern League party is elected governor of the northeastern Veneto region.

He announces the region will withhold all taxes collected by the central Italian government and that 700 new workers will be hired, while dissolving the regional parliament and calling fresh elections.

Shortly afterwards, a soccer match between the Sicilian city of Catania and the northern city of Veneto's Chievo team, a dodgy penalty sparks violence in which six Chievo fans are killed.

The fans' deaths and funerals stoke strong 'nationalist' emotions in the surrounding Veneto region and the momentum for independence becomes unstoppable.

Fresh regional elections are held and Zaia wins a landslide victory taking 74 percent of the vote.

Zaia issues a new constitution and cuts taxes to 35 percent.

The regional government raises five million euros in a matter of days via regional bonds underwritten by local banks and the Veneto region's expropriation of Italian government property.

The neighbouring northern region of Lombardy is swept along by the momentum of Veneto's secession and also declares independence.

In the book's fanciful account, the north then secedes from the south.

"We wanted to highlight that such a future scenario is already a reality," said Davide Corritore, one of the book's authors and a centre-left opposition member of the northern city of Milan's town council.

"Let's not forget the independence of so-called Padania is enshrined in Article 1 of the Northern League's statute."

'Padania' is an alternative geographical name for northern Italy used by the Northern League party. It orignally referred to the Po Valley area.

The Northern League made the strongest gains of any party in Italy's general election in April last year with 8.3 percent of votes nationwide - double its share in the 2006 election.

In the European Parliament elections in May, the party took 10.2 percent of the vote.

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