- Title: Renzi says he intends to resign as Italy PM following referendum defeat
- Date: 4th December 2016
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (FILE - OCTOBER 29, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MATTEO RENZI WAVING AND SINGING ALONG TO "O SOLE MIO" ON STAGE AT RALLY TO PROMOTE 'YES' VOTE IN REFERENDUM AS CROWDS WAVE DEMOCRATIC PARTY FLAGS
- Embargoed: 19th December 2016 23:38
- Keywords: Italy Matteo Renzi referendum resignation PM Partito Democratico
- Location: ROME, FLORENCE AND AMATRICE, ITALY / WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES / AT SEA
- City: ROME, FLORENCE AND AMATRICE, ITALY / WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES / AT SEA
- Country: Italy
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BGYGJR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced on Sunday (December 4) that he would be resigning from his position, his statement came shortly after exit polls showed he suffered a heavy defeat in a referendum over his plan to reform the constitution.
Renzi had vowed to step down if Italians rejected his plan to reduce the role of the upper house Senate and claw back powers from regional authorities. He followed through with that promise shortly after it became clear the proposal was rejected.
An exit poll by the Piepoli Institute/IPR for state television station RAI, estimated those voting 'Yes' to back the reform at 42-46 percent, compared with 54-58 percent for 'No'.
Two other polls - by Tecne' for privately owned TV channel Mediaset, by EMG Acqua for La 7 - gave 'No' a similar lead of at least 10 points. Voting ended at 11 p.m.
The result will increase political uncertainty in the euro zone's third largest economy.
Leader of Italy's centre-left, Renzi is young, dynamic and has never shied away from a challenge. He came to power in February 2014 by forcing his party colleague Enrico Letta to resign as prime minister in a huge political gamble.
The 41-year-old, youngest ever Italian prime minister, presents himself as a youthful, straight-talker.
In November he appeared on the cover of the Italian edition of Rolling Stone described as "The Young Pop."
In October, he was wined and dined by U.S. President Barack Obama during a formal state visit, with the two leaders clearly sporting an affection for each other. That has not always been the case in his relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. Renzi has sometimes attacked his fellow European Union leaders on their approaches to economy and immigration.
When a devastating earthquake hit central Italy in August 2016, Renzi immediately flew to the area to show his support to the local authorities struggling to cope with the disaster in which nearly 300 people lost their lives.
All opinion polls over the past month suggested Renzi was likely to lose the ballot and the members of his Democratic Party had said they could seek early elections in 2017 if this did happen. The current parliamentary term ends in February 2018. It is possible President Sergio Mattarella could ask Renzi to stay on until this date even if he hands in his resignation.
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