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Wikipedia notes that in South Tyrol:

Polls held by the Austrian research institute Karmasin show that 54% of German or Ladin-speaking South Tyroleans would support secession from Italy, while 46% of the total population (including Italians) would encourage South Tyrol's secession.

That's a substantial part of the population, comparable to Scotland or Québec in their independence referendums.

What would it take for South Tyrol to declare independence? Is the situation closer to Spain, where Madrid declares any referendum illegal and imprisons the organisers? Or rather like the United Kingdom, where the Westminster has at least once facilitated an independence referendum, promising to respect the result?

  • Maybe this will help Constitution of the Italian Republic. (I didn't find anything sufficiently explicit when scrolling through Part II,Title V.) Note that South Tyrol has already achieved a considerable level of autonomy almost 50 years ago. – Frank from Frankfurt Aug 21 '19 at 19:58
  • @FrankfromFrankfurt So have Scotland and Catalonia, which in none of the three cases prevents a very large minority, nearly a majority, from wanting full independence. – gerrit Aug 21 '19 at 20:12
  • That's true. Still, it's something to take into account. – Frank from Frankfurt Aug 21 '19 at 20:15
  • I have some doubts about the significance of that poll: In the 2018 election the STF (the most significant party that explicitly wants the secession from Italy) reached 6%. The populist Freedom-Party, that somehow wants to have a sovereign state while staying the EU, also reached 6%. buergernetz.bz.it/vote/landtag2018/results/home_le_vg.htm – Martin Sep 28 '19 at 21:45
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If South Tyrole had a population of at least a million (it's currently around half that), it could, under Article 132, apply to separate from the Trentino-Alto Adige region and become a region in its own right, subject to a referendum. But that would involve it remaining a part of Italy.

By my quick read of the Constitution, it looks like full secession from Italy would have to come in the form of a constitutional amendment under Article 138. This requires each house of Parliament two have two debates, three months apart, and (most likely) approval in an Italy-wide referendum.

Text of the Constitution, in English

  • Nice finding, Joe! – Adriano Aug 22 '19 at 0:29
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    Is the "Italy-wide referendum" to allow the secession, or to change the constitution to allow secession, that would then be requested/voted/passed under a different mechanism? – Jontia Aug 22 '19 at 9:27
  • It appears that it will be to change the constitution to say that South Tyrol is no longer a part of Italy. – Joe C Aug 22 '19 at 19:53

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