Monday, December 5, 2016

Italian PM resigns after referendum loss

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned on Sunday night, shortly after suffering a heavy defeat in a referendum over his plan to reform the constitution.

An exit poll for state broadcaster RAI suggested that 42-46% voted to back reform, compared with 54-58% who voted No, according to the BBC.

The first projections based on the official count point to a wider defeat, the network noted, as early indications have the Yes vote at 39-43% and the No at 57-61%.

In a statement following the defeat, Renzi said he took responsibility for the outcome and called on the No camp to make clear proposals.

"The experience of my government ends here," Renzi said, according to Reuters, describing the defeat as "extraordinarily clear" and adding that on Monday afternoon he would convene his cabinet and then hand in his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella.

The vote asked about plans to streamline parliament but it was widely seen as a chance to register discontent with the prime minister.

The turnout was very high by Italian standards, noted the BBC, with about 60% of the electorate casting their vote. READ MORE