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Liguria, All Italian Regions Need Autonomy Like Swiss Cantons

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 Mohammad Ali (@ChaudhryMAli88) Wed 16th September 2020 | 12:10 PM}

GENOA (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th September, 2020) ENOA, September 16 (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko - Italy's Liguria region should have greater autonomy from the central government, such as that of the Swiss cantons, which is a model that could also be applied to the whole country, candidate for Liguria president at the upcoming regional elections GENOA (Pakistan Point news / Sputnik - 16th September, 2020) iacomo Chiappori told Sputnik in an interview.

From September 20-21, regional elections will take place in Liguria, as well as eight other Italian regions, and will coincide with the constitutional referendum on the reduction in the number of lawmakers.

Chiappori, who has a long record in public service and is now the mayor of the Diano Marina municipality, is running for the presidency in the region with his "Great Liguria" (Grande Liguria) electoral list. He is challenging incumbent President Giovanni Toti and seeks to attract the votes of those dissatisfied with the current regional government and disillusioned with the Lega party, of which Chiappori is still a member but with which he has broken relations recently.

"Raising the issue of autonomy, like Veneto and Lombardy did, would be a mistake because it is a differentiated autonomy... If Veneto wants something, the question is, why shouldn't Campania or Liguria also have it?" Chiappori said when asked how his proposal of greater autonomy for Liguria is different from the cases of other regions.

In 2017, Lombardy and Veneto held autonomy referendums, and in both regions, the YES side won. The poll, however, was not binding.

"We have to go through various referendums in order to do what is in the DNA of the Lega party and of Grande Liguria, to reach the situation in which regions have exclusive rights on all issues that are not competing with the central State, and the State takes care of the matters that are not competing with the Regions. Let me explain. Take Switzerland. It has so many regions, so many cantons, the state is one, unique, but it legislates on certain things, and everything else becomes the autonomy of the Region, therefore each owner governs his own home. Autonomies cover health issues, environment, infrastructure," Chiappori continued.

He noted that such state structure is more beneficial economically, as the regions are allowed to make money themselves and then to send part of it to the central government.

A referendum, however, is not an efficient way to obtain such results, according to Chiappori, as every region would have to hold its own voting, and its results would not necessarily be binding.

"What we say is: in order to avoid getting to nowhere, the project of the Region of Special Status should pass only through a constitutional change approved in the parliament. If it votes for it, it enters into force the next day, there is no need for a referendum or anything else.

We have France on the border, we face the Tyrrhenian Sea, which takes us into the world. We have the right to govern our Liguria," Chiappori said.

The Ligurian economy has suffered immensely from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the candidate, as it has lost its usually high profit from foreign tourists this year, with small and medium enterprises being on the brink of collapse.

"To restart the economy, the idea is to push forward the tourism sector, doing a minimum of promotion ... These are small steps," Chiappori said.

He noted that public housing should be also activated.

"In the meantime, we should put in order the infrastructure. It is quite clear that money is needed: we need to have a clear picture of the regional budget and understand the priorities, also in relation to what gives strong economic feedback to businesses and workers, because one cannot keep on living on subsidies," he continued.

Italian regions will have an opportunity to ask for money from the Italian part of the EU Recovery Fund for financing infrastructure projects and other improvements foreseen by the European Union. However, as

Chiappori said, no one has received these funds so far and it is unclear when it may happen.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus surge in Italy, the Ligurian health system has been criticized for the concentration of medical centers in the bigger cities, like Genoa, and its inaccessibility for smaller towns, inhabitants of which have to travel for hours on a mountain road and through tunnels to reach a hospital in an emergency situation.

"It is quite clear that in the health system that we have, existing things cannot be demolished, but what we have must be rather strengthened, with removing useless things and trying to get as close to the citizen as possible. Checkpoints [hospitals] should be closer to people, so those in Pontedecimo, Cairo (Montenotte),

Saint Charles, La Spezia (which has a huge hospital that is not working) cannot be closed," Chiappori said.

He called for the change in the philosophy that dictates that doctors should be divided into those who work in the hospital and those who work privately.

"This diversification that exists in theory and does not exist in practice is one of the many consequences of a health system that does not work. This needs to be reviewed," he continued.

According to the politician, general practitioners must make regular check-ups on the population, which would help avoid overcrowded ambulance departments in the hospitals.

"We cannot afford in Liguria to have a health care system that is far from citizens. We must stay as close as possible to the citizens, cutting other expenses and making those who do not want to function work better," Chiappori said.