Venetians will vote on whether its age-old city should be split in two, the fifth time Venice has seen a referendum of this kind.
The previous four referendums received majority ‘no’ votes.
President of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia, said the plan to turn Venice into ‘two towns’ was legitimate and necessary, according to Il Globo.
However, the mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, does not support the vote and has urged Venetians not to take part in “yet another referendum on separation”.
The separation would split the lagoon area of Venice from the mainland area of Mestre to become two autonomous municipalities. Only residents of the lagoon area (260,000) are allowed to vote, denying the opinions of around 853,000 citizens living in the larger metropolitan area.
Old Venice ‘welcomes’ more than 20 million tourists each year and receives most of the city’s investment. Comparatively, the other six mainland boroughs are largely post-industrial, over-populated and receive very little attention and money.
Unlike previous calls in recent years for Venice to separate itself from Italy altogether and become its own independent country, this referendum call is more practical and aims to achieve a balance as to where government investments are directed.
“Supporters of the referendum claim that having two separate municipalities would allow each part of Venice to address its own set of problems more effectively,” says Il Globo.
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