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26 Mar, 2014 16:01

Push in Sardinia for online vote on independence from Italy

Push in Sardinia for online vote on independence from Italy

The island of Sardinia plans to hold an online referendum on independence from Italy, following in the footsteps of country’s northeastern Veneto region, where a similar vote revealed high separatist moods.

Over 2 million people in Veneto took part in the internet referendum on March 16-21, with 89 per cent of them voting in favor of cutting ties with Rome.

Despite the plebiscite having no legal power, it inspired the Sardinian Action Party (PSdAz) to organize an independence online vote in Sardinia, Nuova Sardegna website reports.

PSdAz advocates withdrawal from Italy and the cultivation of Sardinian traditions and values.

“We’ll just ask the Sardinians if they want independence,”
said John Hills, the Sardinian Action Party’s national secretary. “Their opinion is important. We believe that this issue has become very relevant today and we want to clarify what exactly is the will of the people.”

A motion to stage an online referendum will be presented before the regional council in Sardinia on Thursday.

Most likely, there’ll be just one question put before the islanders if the vote is given a green light: “Do you want Sardinia to become an independent state?” Hills said.

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with a population of over 1.6 million. It is currently an autonomous region of Italy.

A survey performed by the University of Cagliari in 2012 revealed that four out of 10 Sardinians favored independence from Italy.

A total of 6,000 people took part in the survey, with around 10 per cent saying they wanted to withdraw not only from Italy, but from the European Union as well.

Some political forces in Sardinia say they already know what should the island do after gaining independence.

The Maritime Canton movement is pushing for Sardinia to become part of Switzerland, paying no attention to laughs from the skeptics.

“The madness doesn’t lie in putting forward” a suggestion to join a landlocked country 1,000 kilometers away, Andrea Caruso, the movement’s co-founder, told the Guardian. “The madness lies in how things are now.”

The “inefficient and sick” administration, which Sardinia gets as part of Italy, forced the region to start looking for look for “an expert partner, who can show us how to create an effective, efficient and mature system of local government,” a petition on the Maritime Canton’s website said.

“This partner is, we think, Switzerland,” the petition says.

The online petition, which Sardinians and Swiss citizens are urged to sign, has attracted signatures of 2,500 people so far.

The rise of separatist movements across Europe “isn’t a negative process,” Anna Arque from European Partnership for Independence told RT.

“Well, actually, it’s a positive note. As European citizens, we feel the trust in democracy because we actually feel Europe is mature enough to cope with democracy and to cope with the will of different nations,” she said.

According to Arque, the purpose of the independence movements on the continent is “reorganizing internally the European Union; reorganizing ourselves by the principle of democracy to resolve… the conflicts that are still not resolved in the 21st century.”