High turnout in the first consultation on self-determination in South Tyrol

The consultation in the municipality of Ahrntal will go on until November · Organisers aim at toping 50% of turnout and say ‘it marks the beginning of a long democratic battle’ · CIEMEN has sent an observer to inform on Catalonia’s popular referendums · Actions launched for Austrian-Italian dual citizenship

The town of Ahrntal inaugurated on Saturday the process of unofficial referendums of self-determination in South Tyrol. The kick-off was held in Sankt Johann, one of the wards of Ahrntal. Quim Arrufat attended the event as an observer on behalf of CIEMEN (‘Escarré' International Center for Ethnic Minorities and Nations). He also informed the organisers and South Tyrolean public about the experience of Catalan referendums, which have been held in more than 500 Catalan municipalities. According to Arrufat, turnout in Ahrntal was high and reached around 300 people. Extrapolation of turnout makes organisers of South Tyrolean Freedom (Süd-Tiroler Freiheit, STF) believe that percentage will be above 50% by November. Voters will be able to cast their vote most Saturday afternoon after a talk on the issue. The recount of votes will be carried out in November. As in Catalonia, it is expected the ‘yes' vote will win a landslide majority.

The popular consultation in Ahrntal has made a great impact in South Tyrolean media. The Italian-language Alto Adige newspaper informed on Quim Arrufat's talk and his role as an observer, and reported on statements made by STF leader Eva Klotz. The poll in Ahrntal "is only the beginning of a long democratic battle for self-determination", she said. The news also came out in the local news bulletin of the RAI-South Tyrol channel.

STF supports dual citizenship

The South Tyrolean People's Party (Südtiroler Volkspartei, SVP), a conservative and pro-autonomy political force standing as the territory's largest party considers the consultation is not a political priority and that there are "more important" things to do, like achieving Austrian-Italian dual citizenship. President of South Tyrol Luis Durnwalder (SVP) met Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Spindelegger last weekend to look into the matter. South Tyrolean Freedom (Süd-Tiroler Freiheit, STF) also stands for dual citizenship. The party has launched a signature campaign to urge the Austrian Parliament to approve the necessary legal changes so that South-Tyrolean people are allowed becoming Austrian citizens if they wish so.

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