Veneto government opens bank account in order to fund independence vote

Non-binding referendum law stipulates cost must be met by individuals · Veneto citizens to choose between statu quo, enlarged autonomy or independence · Italian government challenged the law before the Constitutional Court in August

The government of Veneto opened earlier this week a bank account so that citizens and businesses can contribute to raise the 14 million euro needed to pay the non-binding referendum on independence that was passed in June. The account number can be found on the government's website. Contributions can be done starting from 20 euros. The referendum law stipulates that the 14 million cost must be met through payments by individuals.

The question that will be put to vote is: "Do you want Veneto to become an independent and sovereign republic? Yes or no?". Venetian lawmakers announced that the referendum would be held within six months, that is before December 14th, but the vote has not been called yet. The law on the referendum specificies that the Regional Council will decide the "ideal date" for the vote to be held, without further specification.

Also in June the Veneto Council passed another law to hold another referendum on granting Veneto a special autonomy status. Only five territories in the Italian Republic (Aosta Valley, South Tyrol thirty, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sardinia and Sicily) enjoy such a status, which gives them a larger degree of self-government than regions with ordinary statutes.

But both laws were challenged by the Italian government before the Constitutional Court in August. The Italian government argues the laws violate the Constitution.

President of the Veneto Luca Zaia (Northern League) announced that his government will defend the constitutionality of both laws before the court. According to Zaia, the Venetian government will be "on the front line to defend a democratic right."

If the non-binding referendum eventually can not be held, the Venetian government says it will reimburse money paid by each individual citizen.