Anti-Establishment Wins Referendum, Italian Prime Minister Resigns

REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
Font Size:

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his immediate resignation after Italians shot down his referendum on constitutional reforms Sunday night.

Renzi put his reputation on the line by calling a referendum on constitutional reforms to make it easier for the government to rule.  Exit polls gave the “No” side between 54-58 percent, and Renzi quickly admitted defeat.

“I take full responsibility for this defeat,” Renzi said, adding he couldn’t disregard the “extraordinarily clear results.”

Among the reforms were a cut in the number of seats in the upper-house Senate, slashing unproductive constitutional bodies and centralizing more power to the executive.

The results are big win for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the populist Northern League Party.

Northern League leader Matteo Salvini called it a “victory of the people against the strong powers of three-quarters of the world.”

Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan or Senate speaker Pietro Grasso are frontrunners to succeed Renzi in a caretaker government. The new government is expected to push for a reversal of a new electoral law created by the Renzi administration, which gives a winning party with more than 40 percent of the votes extra seats to form a majority government. The establishment fears the Five Star Movement will gain power if the electoral laws aren’t changed by the next election.

The opposition now wants a referendum on whether Italy should keep the euro as its currency. The euro immediately fell against the dollar after the results became clear.

Follow Jacob on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact