President of Lombardy Roberto Maroni said the results of the pro-autonomy referendum in northern Italy are “beyond my expectations” during a press conference in Milan on Monday.
More than 3 million people in Lombardy voted for the non-binding autonomy referendum, some 95.3 percent, for greater autonomy from the central Italian government.
Maroni called the results beyond expectations and said he had a “friendly talk” with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, during which the Italian PM confirmed Rome’s intention to open a dialogue on the issue of greater regional autonomy.
The vote was promoted by the Northern-League party (Lega Nord), of which Maroni is a member.
A similar referendum was also held on Sunday in the region of Veneto, where 98 percent voted for more autonomy.
For the first time electronic voting was experimented in Lombardy, where problems in vote counting have delayed the communication of the precise final result of the referendum.