Over 98 percent of residents of Italy’s Veneto region voted on Sunday in favor of getting by the region of autonomy status during a non-binding referendum, the local election commission said.

According to the commission, the turnout exceeded 57 percent and the majority of ballots have already been processed.

“This is really a historic event, which will have serious consequences. Over two million residents voted in favor of the autonomy. This is the beginning of a new history of Veneto,” President of Veneto Luca Zaia told Sputnik.

Earlier, a representative of the referendum’s electoral committee announced that a turnout was high enough to be recognized as valid.

The preliminary data showed on Sunday that over 95 percent of residents of Italy’s Lombardy region voted in favor of greater autonomy for the region during a non-binding referendum, President of Lombardy Roberto Maroni said.

“About one third of ballots have been processed and over 95 percent of voters said ‘yes’ and about 3 percent voted against… I am satisfied with the fact that the turnout exceeded 40 percent,” Maroni told reporters.

Veneto and neighboring Lombardy are holding consultative non-binding plebiscites on Sunday on the autonomy of both regions, for the first time in modern Italian history. The Lega Nord party, prominent in the regional parliaments of both Veneto and Lombardy, has long backed independence and increased autonomy for the northern regions.