Sunday, December 04, 2016

RENZI LOSES: Exit polls indicate PM DEFEAT as Italians say ’NO’ in critical referendum

ITALIAN Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is set to suffer embarrassment after the first exit polls showed a majority of Italians voted ‘No’ in the country’s momentous referendum.In results, which could hint at which way the critical vote is set to go before the final outcome is announced in the early hours of Monday morning, 55 to 59 per cent rejected the prime minister’s constitutional reforms. An exit poll by the Piepoli Institute/IPR for state television station RAI, estimated those voting 'Yes' to back the reform at 42 to 46 per cent, compared with 54 to 58 percent for 'No’, as the backlash against Mr Renzi gains momentum. The euro immediately fell against the dollar on the exit polls, slipping to $1.0580 from $1.0625. If confirmed, the Italian premier has promised to resign if he loses, which threatens to shake the financial foundations of the nation and push contagion to other nations in the crumbling European Union.Matteo Renzi called a vote on what he calls streamlining Italy’s government decisions and had big plans as the young centre-left leader wants to strip the country’s second house of much of its constitutional power.But his departure could be taken badly by markets that have backed his reform agenda. If his proposals are defeated, opposition parties who are determined to push forward a breakaway from Brussels, and with Brexit increasing anti-EU sentiment across the continent, they will prepare for a fight to topple the Union. If there is a snap election, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement could rise to power and call a referendum over Italy’s membership of the eurozone. This would pave the way for Italy quitting the euro, plunging the eurozone into chaos and leading to the disintegration of the EU. Britain’s momentous decision to sever ties with Brussels was celebrated by Eurosceptic party the Five Star Movement, led by comedian Beppe Grillo. A ‘no’ vote could also trigger financial market turmoil at a time when Italy’s economy is already struggling amid an ongoing banking crisis. The referendum result could hit Italy’s banks which remain vulnerable after huge amounts of bad loans led to bank shares falling dramatically. However, Italian exit polls have often got the result wrong in previous elections.

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