Following a referendum defeat, Italian PM Matteo Renzi has said he will step down without delay. Italians overwhelmingly voted against the premier’s proposed constitutional reforms.
“My government ends today,” said Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi just after midnight on Monday, in a televised address from the Palazzo Chigi. “I take full responsibility for this defeat.”
Renzi said he could not refute the “extraordinarily clear” results of Sunday’s referendum on constitutional reforms, and called on his rivals to provide clear proposals for ending the continuous cycle of political deadlock in Rome. He offered his condolences to those in his “Yes” camp, congratulating them on a hard-fought campaign.
“Good luck to us all,” said the prime minister of two-and-a-half years, saying he would give his letter of resignation to President Sergio Mattarella later on Monday.
Europe calls for fast solution
Following Renzi’s referendum defeat, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he hoped the government crisis in Italy will resolve quickly.
“We are watching the result in Italy with concern,” Steinmeier, who is visiting Greece, said in televised remarks on Monday.
“This is not of course a state crisis, but it’s a government crisis that needs to be resolved… it’s not a positive message to Europe at a difficult time,” he added.
Manfried Weber, a senior conservative European Parliament lawmaker from Germany, echoed Steinmeier’s concerns.
“Initially, a phase of instability now lies ahead of us – how will one of the biggest countries in the European Union now stabilize itself?” Weber told German public broadcaster ZDF. He added that the referendum outcome is a setback for those who want reforms in Europe.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble urged Italy to continue with Renzi’s economic reforms during a call with his Italian counterpart on Monday.
France and Luxembourg, on the other hand, viewed the result as a domestic issue that did not signify a defeat for Europe. French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the result poses no systemic risk to the euro zone.
Likewise, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, called the referendum a “domestic political argument,” in comments to news agency DPA. He said the issue should not be extended to the European level, but added that a drawn-out government crisis would be bad for the euro.
‘No’ constitutional change in Rome
With all votes counted, results showed 59 percent of Italians voting against Renzi’s proposed reforms, with just under 41 percent in favor, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.
Turnout for the election was high, with 65 percent of the 47 million registered voters in Italy casting ballots.