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Fistfight erupts in Italian Parliament amidst debate on regional autonomy expansion; video goes viral (WATCH)

The incident, captured on video, shows lawmakers confronting 5-Star Movement lawmaker Leonardo Donno, who opposed the proposal. Donno attempted to hand an Italian flag to regional affairs minister Roberto Calderoli.

Fistfight erupts in Italian Parliament amidst debate on regional autonomy expansion; video goes viral (WATCH) snt
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First Published Jun 13, 2024, 5:20 PM IST

Tensions erupted in Italy's lower house on Wednesday, leading to a fistfight that resulted in an opposition lawmaker being hospitalized. The altercation stemmed from a controversial government proposal that critics argue will further impoverish the poor south.

The incident, captured on video, shows lawmakers confronting 5-Star Movement lawmaker Leonardo Donno, who opposed the proposal. Donno attempted to hand an Italian flag to regional affairs minister Roberto Calderoli. Calderoli, a prominent Lega party member from the north, drafted the disputed expansion of regional autonomy, which would primarily benefit northern regions like Veneto and Lombardy, strongholds of the Lega party.

Italian media reported that Donno was taken to the hospital for evaluation after sustaining injuries to his head and chest.

Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani expressed disappointment at the incident during an interview with Sky TG24.

“I have no words,’' Tajani said. “We need to set another example, not punches to resolve political problems. It’s not braggadocio, it’s not shouting, it’s ideas that need to be explained well to persuade voters.”

The proposal aims to grant additional regions expanded autonomy in specific functions, a measure criticized by the opposition for potentially deepening Italy's north-south divide.

Currently, five regions enjoy varying degrees of autonomy, which includes partial retention of tax revenues that would otherwise go to Rome. These regions are Trentino-South Tyrol in the north, comprising the autonomous provinces of Trento and South Tyrol, and Sicily in the south. The other three regions are Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the northeast, Aosta in the northwest, and the island of Sardinia.

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