Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced to resign hours after defeat in a referendum on constitutional reform.
Exit polls show the Prime Minister’s reform plan was rejected by Italian voters. The initial results show “No” campaign prevailed following Sunday’s referendum.
“My experience of government finishes here,” Renzi told a press conference, acknowledging that the No campaign had won an “extraordinarily clear” victory in a vote on which he had staked his political future.
Interior ministry projections suggested the No camp, led by the populist Five Star Movement, had been backed by 59.5 percent of those who voted.
Besides the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, the outcome energised another “anti” party, the anti-immigrant Northern League, an ally of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, a candidate in France’s presidential race.
In voting No, Italians also delivered a rebuke to Italy’s industrialists, banks and other establishment institutions, which had staunchly backed the referendum.
The anti-reform victory, which could spook investors, comes just as the government had made some inroads in cutting the staggering rate of youth employment and while Italy’s banks have urgent need for recapitalisation.