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Brawl In Italian Parliament: Lawmakers Engage In Fistfight After Debate On Regional Autonomy

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A fistfight broke out in Italy’s lower house, resulting in an Opposition lawmaker being hospitalised, amid rising tensions over a contentious government proposal to expand regional autonomy, which opponents argue will further disadvantage the poorer southern regions. The altercation occurred on Wednesday when 5-Star Movement lawmaker Leonardo Donno, who opposes the proposed changes, attempted to hand an Italian flag to Regional Affairs Minister Roberto Calderoli. 

Calderoli, a member of the Lega party known for his northern roots, drafted the proposal aimed at expanding regional autonomy, primarily benefiting northern regions like Veneto and Lombardy, strongholds of the Lega party, Associated Press reported. 

Italian media reported that Donno was taken to the hospital for evaluation after being struck in the head and chest during the incident. 

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Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani expresses his disappointment over the events in an interview on Sky TG24, stating, “I have no words. 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”. 

As per media reports, the controversial proposal seeks to grant additional expanded autonomy in certain functions. Critics argue that this move will exacerbate the existing north-south divide in Italy. 

Currently, five regions have autonomy, which partially reduces the tax revenue owed to the central government in Rome. These regions include Trento-South Tyrol in the north, Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the northeast, Asota in the northwest, the island of Sardinia, and Sicily in the south. 

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