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Renzi Resignation Throws EU Into Turmoil

05.12.2016 17:03

The announcement by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi that he is to resign in the wake of his failure to push through changes to the country's constitution has sent the Eurozone and financial markets into chaos as the zone's third-biggest economy faces political paroxysm.

Although Renzi's referendum was ostensibly designed to reduce the powers of the upper house — the Senate — and regional authorities, it was effectively a vote of confidence in Renzi, the Eurozone and the EU. He argued the reforms to the constitution would cut bureaucracy and increase competitiveness, but his detractors said it would give more power to those already in power.

However, with the rise of the right-wing highly euroskeptic Five Star movement cashing in on the Brexit referendum result, Renzi was facing increasing unpopularity at home. In the end, it was a pronouncement on Renzi himself, who admitted in defeat: "I take full responsibility for the defeat. I will greet my successor with a smile and a hug, whoever it might be."

Although President Sergio Mattarella will likely appoint a prime minister — the fourth without an electoral mandate — Italy remains the subject of deep worries in the EU.

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