South Tyrol Secession Referendum

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The South Tyrol is an Italian province located in the northernmost part of the country. It borders Austria to the north and east and Switzerland to the west. The province is very linguistically diverse with 62% native German speakers, mostly of Austrian descent, and only about 24% native Italian speakers.

Formerly united Austrian States of North and East Tyrol, South Tyrol was ruled by the Hapsburg family and Austro-Hungarian Empire from the 14th to the 20th century. After World War I, the region was ceded from Austria to Italy as part of the Treaty of London. With its predominantly Germanic culture, Italy's fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, sought to "Italianize" the province by outlawing German in schools, replacing German toponyms with their Italian equivalents, and encouraging the migration of ethnic Italians to the region

Since the end of World War II and the overthrow of Mussolini's regime, South Tyrol has seen a surge in nationalism and anti-Italian sentiment among its German-speaking community. Many Germanic Tyroleans wish to secede from Italy and either from an independent Tyrolean state or unite with the rest of Austria. The New Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, has even offered Austrian passports to the Tyroleans much to the indignation of Rome. 

The most effective solution to the issue of German nationalism in an Italian province would be for the Austrian and Italian Governments to listen to the people. A referendum must soon be held in South Tyrol to determine the future of the region. In this proposed referendum, the Tyroleans must know all of their options. They would need to answer several questions:

1) Should South Tyrol remain under jurisdiction of the Italian Government or should it secede? 

If the former, should German-speaking Tyroleans remain only Italian citizens or may they receive the offered Austrian passports?

2) If South Tyrol does secede from Italy, should it remain an independent state or should it reunite with Austria?

All of these questions must be answered and in democracies, such as Italy and Austria, the power to decide must be handed over to the people.