Venetians vote to separate from Italy in referendum

VENETIANS have voted overwhelmingly for their own sovereign state in a referendum on independence from Italy.

Inspired by Scotland's separatist ambitions, 89% of the residents of the lagoon city and its surrounding area, opted to break away from Italy in an unofficial ballot.

Wealthy Venetians, under mounting financial pressure in the economic crisis, have grown tired of supporting Italy's poor and crime ridden south through high taxation.

Campaigners say that the Rome government receives around $71 billion euros each year in tax from Venice.

Organisers said that 2.36 million, or 73%, of those eligible to take part voted in the poll, which is not recognised by the Rome government.

The ballot also appointed a committee of 10 who immediately declared independence from Italy.

Venice may now start withholding taxes from Rome.

The proposed 'Repubblica Veneta' would include the five million inhabitants of the Veneto region and could later expand to include parts of Lombardy, Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.