Time.news – In Sardinia, a reform of local autonomies, the second in five years, restores 4 provinces already canceled in 2016, triples the municipalities of the current metropolitan city of Cagliari (adds 54 to the current 17) and establishes that of Sassari. The reorganization of the intermediate bodies will involve more expenses, currently only estimated, the financial coverage of which is doubtful, as evidenced by the opposition.

When fully operational, the new Provinces will cost the public coffers greater charges of 835 thousand euros per year, of which 250 thousand for directors, 225 thousand for auditors and 360 thousand for secretaries, according to the technical report attached to the text, approved, amid applause, by the Regional Council with the votes of the center-right majority and a large part of the center-left councilors, driven above all by reasons of representation of the territories in which they were elected.

The celebrations, therefore, were bipartisan among the benches of the Regional Council, especially among those who supported the exhumation of the canceled Provinces. “It is a good reform, which welcomes the requests of the territories”, he argues Pierluigi Saiu (Lega), president of the First Commission (Autonomy).

“It is another important step in the creation of a modern Sardinia”, he defines it the president of the regional council, Michele Pais (Lega), “ever closer to the citizen, where finally all the territories of the island have equal treatment”.

“A federalist reorganization”, he comments the President of the Region, Christian Solinas (Psd’Az), “with more autonomy and protagonism of the territories, and greater services that translate into more opportunities for young people and represent formidable weapons in contrasting depopulation and exodus of young people”.

The estimated costs of what the councilor for local authorities, the sardist Quirico Sanna, defined “reform from below”, they are not final. For this year, the expected expenses amount to 796 thousand euros. The higher costs depend on the fact that from the current 5 intermediate bodies we go to 8.

What changes with the new law

Sardinia will have two metropolitan cities: Sassari with 66 centers and the functions of the suppressed Province and the unions of the municipalities, and Cagliari with 71, which will inherit the functions of Southern Sardinia. There will be six provinces: in Oristano and Nuoro, with modified districts, they will be added the exhumed Sulcis-Iglesiente, Ogliastra, Medio Campidano and Gallura, that before the cancellation they cost about 38 million a year, as he recalled the Progressive Massimo Zedda.

The former Province of Olbia-Tempio was renamed South-East Sardinia, with a transversal amendment supported by the Gallura councilors.

The ‘liquidation’ of the Province of Southern Sardinia will be entrusted to a commissioner appointed by the region, while the others will be managed by administrators, always chosen by the Executive, until the second level elections, to be held by 31 December next.

The unified text, which in recent weeks has animated controversy on social media, even at a national level, rewrites the 2016 reform, wanted by the then center-left majority, with which the Province of Southern Sardinia and the Sassari metropolitan network were born. Both were suppressed during the long hiccuping process in the Chamber, due disputes in the center-right majority on three nodes, dissolved after interminable meetings and continuous postponements of the sessions of the Chamber: the commissioner of the Metropolitan City of Cagliari (later skipped, to leave the reins to the metropolitan mayor Paolo Truzzu, FdI); the postponement of municipal elections to next autumn, given the Covid emergency (approved with an amendment by the Executive); the competence in the matter of state-owned maritime concessions, which the Region has decided to take away from the Municipalities coastal, after a dispute with six administrations that had not extended them until 2033.

© Berthier Emmanuel/Hemis/Afp

The coast of Santa Maria Navarrese (Baunei), which will pass from the Province of Nuoro to that of Ogliastra

The consultative referendum

The final word on the membership of each intermediate body will be up to the communities concerned, who will be able to exercise the option of detachment from the Metropolitan City or Province to which they have been assigned in the first instance: a consultative referendum is envisaged, organized by the Region with a single round for all the centers concerned, in case the municipal councils concerned have deliberated secondment without reaching unanimity or if consultation is requested by at least one third of those registered on the electoral lists of the Municipality.

The Unions of Provinces

The unified text introduces the possibility for the Provinces to associate, to form Unions of up to three Provinces for the associated management of functions and services. Each Union will be able to stipulate conventions and must have a statute scheme to define its own bodies, registered office, operating methods, functions and services to be exercised in associated form.

“In addition to the two metropolitan cities of Cagliari and Sassari, there will be two other blocks in Sardinia”, he argues the regional councilor of the Democratic Party, Roberto Deriu, former president of the Province of Nuoro “In the one to the east, the Provinces of Olbia-Tempio, Nuoro and Ogliastra will be able to join. In the other, to the south-west, Oristano, Sulcis-Iglesiente and Medio Campidano”.

The positions of the parties

To the reorganization of local authorities they formally opposed the M5S (even if the former leader Desirè Manca, from Sassari, voted yes to the establishment of the new metropolitan city) and Progressives (with some caveats), in the minority. In the center left especially from the Democratic Party, which also voted in favor, criticisms of the enlargement of the metropolitan city of Cagliari came.

In the center-right, however, the Sardinian Reformers, who in 2012 were among the supporters of the regional consultative referendum with which the Sardinians had expressed themselves without hesitation for the abolition not only of the four newly established provinces but also of the ‘historical’ ones, in the wake of the strong ‘anticasta’ sentiment of that period.

The “territorial reorganization” aims – as stated in article 1 of the law – to favor the “territorial balance between the different areas of Sardinia and to promote uniform and homogeneous development and growth opportunities on the island”. The majority speaker Antonello Peru (Udc-Cambiamo), a strong supporter of the metropolitan city of Sassari, argues that this law lays the foundation for a “Sardinian federalism in which local communities are protagonists and engines of development “.

The Cal, the Council of Local Autonomies, has hoped the restoration of the direct election of presidents and provincial councils to “ensure all citizens the right of access to elected offices”. At the moment the provinces (Sassari, Oristano, Nuoro and South Sardinia) are governed by extraordinary administrators appointed by the regional council (the first three have been commissioners since 2013) and the planned second level elections have always been postponed over the years.

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