With 3 out of every 4 voters taking part.
Milan voted a clear “yes” in the referendum on reform to the Italian constitution held last Sunday, with 51.13 per cent of voters ticking the yes box.
The city thus bucked the nationwide trend, which denied a mandate to prime minister Matteo Renzi to overhaul the 1948 Constitution, triggering his resignation.
Along with Milan, only two other major cities in the peninsula voted in favour of Renzi’s proposal: Florence, the town where he served as mayor, with 56 per cent and Bologna with 52 per cent. In the rest of the country, the “no” vote won the day, for a nationwide total result of just over 59 per cent, against almost 41 per cent in favour.
Milan’s support for the proposed reform was however limited to residents of the city itself. Across the whole of Milan province, the level dropped below the “pass mark” to just over 47 per cent, and across the Lombardy region as a whole it reached only 44.51 per cent.
Given Milan’s strong association with banking and finance, the result is arguably not surprising; campaigners against the referendum had stoked fears that rejection of Renzi’s proposal could provoke chaos on the money markets. But as one wag tweeted on Monday morning, “Banks not collapsed yet –waiting until after the lunch break?”
The other surprise after the large margin by which the rejectionists carried the day was to be seen in the turnout. While participation in referendums and elections in Italy has been steadily dropping over the past decades, seen by observers as a symptom of citizens’ general disenchantment with politics, the nationwide turnout last weekend topped a respectable 65 per cent, and in Milan participation in the voting reached almost 72 per cent.