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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Europe’s Populists Target Landmark Victories in Italy, Austria

Italy’s referendum is supposed to be about curbing the power of the Senate. But after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s promise to quit if he loses, the overarching issue has become his efforts to fend off the challenge of the anti-euro Five Star Movement after almost three years in power. Across the Alps, Norbert Hofer is aiming to become Western Europe’s first right-wing nationalist head of state since World War II, by appealing to Austrians’ distrust of immigrants, global trade and the EU.

Matteo Renz
Sunday’s ballots kick off a year of voting with establishment parties across the continent threatened by upstarts challenging the foundations of the European project. Countries accounting for three quarters of euro-area economy will go to the polls with the future of the EU at stake.
“We’re seeing populist parties challenge the establishment in one country after another,” Simon Tilford, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform in London, said in an interview. “Anything that causes doubt about political stability in Italy will unsettle investors.” READ MORE