What would it take for South Tyrol to declare independence?

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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?

gerrit

Posted 2019-08-21T16:21:59.977

Reputation: 40 843

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.

– None – 2019-08-21T19:58:24.843

@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 – 2019-08-21T20:12:31.897

That's true. Still, it's something to take into account. – None – 2019-08-21T20:15:03.283

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%. http://www.buergernetz.bz.it/vote/landtag2018/results/home_le_vg.htm

– Martin – 2019-09-28T21:45:22.550

Answers

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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

Joe C

Posted 2019-08-21T16:21:59.977

Reputation: 24 617

Nice finding, Joe! – Adriano – 2019-08-22T00:29:08.117

1Is 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 – 2019-08-22T09:27:40.113

It appears that it will be to change the constitution to say that South Tyrol is no longer a part of Italy. – Joe C – 2019-08-22T19:53:06.520