- Title: Italians speculate on the way ahead
- Date: 5th December 2016
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (FILE - NOVEMBER 26, 2016) (REUTERS) LEADER OF 5-STAR MOVEMENT, BEPPE GRILLO, HOLDING HEART-SHAPED BALLOON, MARCHING WITH SUPPORTERS GRILLO MARCHING NEXT TO 5-STAR MOVEMENT POLITICIAN AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, LUIGI DI MAIO
- Embargoed: 20th December 2016 13:46
- Keywords: Italy elections referendum Silvio Berlusconi Lucio Malan Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
- Location: ROME, ITALY
- City: ROME, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Reuters ID: LVA0045BLYTS7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is set to resign on Monday (December 5) after suffering a crushing defeat in a referendum over constitutional reform, tipping the euro zone's third-largest economy into political turmoil.
His decision to quit after just two-and-a-half years in office deals a blow to the European Union, already reeling from multiple crises and struggling to overcome anti-establishment forces that have battered the Western world this year.
Renzi's emotional, midnight resignation announcement sent the euro lower and jolted stock and bond markets on concerns that early elections could follow, possibly paving the way for an anti-euro party, the 5-Star Movement, to come to power.
Sunday's (December 4) referendum was over government plans to reduce the powers of the upper house Senate and regional authorities but was viewed by many people as a chance to register dissatisfaction with Renzi, who has struggled to revive economic growth, and mainstream politics.
Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, who has pulled out of scheduled meetings with European finance ministers in Brussels this week, is viewed as a possible candidate to replace Renzi.
Senate President Pietro Grasso has also been tipped as a possible successor. Although some Italians would prefer to see the return of former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
"I don't know what to say, each one is worse than the other. So, taking things into consideration, I'd vote for Berlusconi," said Margherita Fucili.
The government crisis could open the door to elections next year and to the possibility of the opposition 5-Star Movement gaining power in the heart of the single currency area. 5-Star, which campaigned hard for a 'No' vote, wants to hold a referendum instead on membership of the euro.
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