Italian PM Matteo Renzi to resign following failed referendum

The Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, announced his resignation this morning in the wake of the referendum results yesterday. The country voted on a constitutional reform that Mr. Renzi hoped would bring stability to Italian politics. His detractors maintained that it would instead do away with numerous safeguards that protect the democratic system. The proposition was shot down, with “No” gaining 59.1% of the votes.

The Prime Minister said he took “full responsibility for the defeat” in a speech to the country, and assured he would “greet [his] successor with a smile and a hug, whoever it might be”.

The Euro plunged compared to the Dollar following the announcement of the results yesterday evening, but has since climbed back to previous rates. Italy’s third largest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, also suffered from the results, as its shares fell by 7 percent before returning to a 1 percent decline.

Matteo Renzi had campaigned for his reform against practically all the opposition parties in Italy, but the clear winner of the referendum was the anti-establishment 5-Star Party, led by Beppe Grillo. Luigi Di Maio, believed to be the party’s candidate for the prime minster’s declared that, “from tomorrow, we will start work on putting together 5-Star’s future programme and the team of people that will make up a future government”.

Matteo Renzi is expected to hand in his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella later today.

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