Zaia wins absolute majority in Veneto election, insists on non-binding votes on autonomy, independence

Italian Constitutional Court put on hold both referendums, has yet to make final decision · Incumbent Zaia wants to hold them "immediately," shows support for enlarged self-government over secession · Explicitly pro-independence parties get 5% of the votes for the first time ever

Incumbent Luca Zaia (Venetian League-Northern League) won on Sunday 31st May an absolute majority in the Veneto presidential and legislative election. Zaia received 50.1% of the votes in the presidential election, while in the legislative votes, lists supporting him totaled 52.2% of the ballots, and will have 28 of the Regional Council's 49 seats. Out of those 28 seats, 13 will go to Zaia's List, 10 to the Northern League, 3 to Forza Italia, 1 to Independenza Noi Veneto, and 1 to Fratelli d'Italia.

Right after having secured victory, Zaia warned that the Italian government should meet him "for autonomy talks," and insisted on his election manifesto promise to "immediately" hold two non-binding referendums on independence and enlarged autonomy. Both votes were approved by the Regional Council in 2014, but they were temporarily put on hold by Italy's Constitutional Court, which has not yet decided on the legality of the referendums.

Zaia's manifesto does not include any commitment to independence beyond holding that non-binding referendum. The president has been emphasizing the need to prevent an ongoing constitutional reform to remove powers from Veneto. In any case, Zaia has been saying in recent years that Veneto should enjoy enlarged autonomy within Italy, either making it the sixth region with special autonomy or simply demanding further powers.

Explicitly pro-independence parties capture 5% of the votes

Aside from the Northern League -which navigates between federalist and vaguely secessionist stances-, explicitly pro-independence parties running in the Veneto election for the first time captured a combined 5% of the votes.

Despite that, their division into three different lists will only grant the pro-independence parties one single regional councilor out of 49: Ilaria Padoan, who has been elected under the banner of Independenza Noi Veneto, a coalition of several secessionist parties supporting Zaia. Independenza Noi Veneto received 2.7% of the votes, while another pro-independence list led by Alessio Morosin (Indipendenza Veneta) obtained 2.5% of the ballots. Finally, Veneto Stato- Razza Piave got 0.2% of the votes, as a part of a centre-right pool led by Flavio Tosi. Indipendenza Veneta and Veneto Stato-Razza Piave will have no seats in the Regional Council.

(Image: Luca Zaia / Photography: Presidency of the Italian Republic.)