Sunday, December 4, 2016

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi Announces Resignation (VIDEO)

That's major!

At WSJ, "Italy Rejects Reforms, Matteo Renzi Announces Resignation":

ROME—Italian voters on Sunday rejected constitutional changes backed by the government, prompting Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to announce his resignation and handing populists a victory in the heartland of Europe.

With 91% of votes counted, 59.7% of voters delivered a stinging rebuke to Mr. Renzi’s plan to overhaul Italy’s legislature to make it easier to pass laws, including measures meant to make the country more competitive.

Mr. Renzi said he would go to Italian President Sergio Mattarella Monday afternoon to tender his resignation.

“I take full responsibility for the defeat,” Mr. Renzi said in an address from Palazzo Chigi, the premier’s residence. The Italian people “have spoken in a clear and unequivocal way...we leave with no regrets,” he added.

The result means uncertainty in Italy, the European Union’s fourth-largest economy, as the bloc struggles to revive growth and define its future. Mr. Renzi’s resignation could clear the way for the formation of a caretaker government and, possibly, new parliamentary elections next year.

Among the biggest winners from Italy’s vote is the antiestablishment 5 Star Movement, which campaigned against Mr. Renzi and his agenda, saying more radical change is needed. The party has called for a nonbinding referendum on Italy’s euro membership. It also wants to abandon EU budget strictures and has said it might favor printing a parallel currency.

Public-opinion surveys indicate that roughly 30% of Italians would back 5 Star candidates if parliamentary elections were held now. That puts it neck-and-neck with Mr. Renzi’s Democratic Party and means it will have an influential voice and could even end up in power—an outcome that could ultimately threaten the integrity of the eurozone and its common currency.

Giampaolo Brunelli, a 43-year-old supporter of the 5 Star Movement, voted against the reform Sunday morning. “Renzi hasn’t done much to change this country—just like all the other politicians before him,” he said after voting in Rome.

Europe is facing a prolonged period of political upheaval, with elections also slated for 2017 in Germany, France and the Netherlands, all countries where economic anxiety, opposition to the EU and a surge in migration have fed growing support for populist parties.

Such sentiments were also at play in Austria on Sunday, when center-left candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated Norbert Hofer in Austria’s presidential race by 53.3% to 46.7%, according to a final count of votes case on Sunday and a projection of mail-in ballot results.

The vote ended Mr. Hofer’s bid to become the first right-wing populist president in postwar Western Europe, but the election brought to light widespread discontent with the country’s political establishment. Like the other populists across the continent, Mr. Hofer wanted to roll back the power of the European Union, toughen border controls, crack down on the flow of refugees and migrants to Europe and improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin...

I like how WSJ identifies Hofer's party as "right-wing populist" and not "far-right" like almost all of the pathetic leftist outlets always do.

More at Telegraph U.K., "Live — Matteo Renzi concedes defeat in Italian referendum and steps down as prime minister."