Italy's prime minister resigns after landslide defeat in referendum vote

Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi announced his resignation in Rome shortly after midnight on Monday, after losing a critical referendum battle on which he staked his political career.

“Italy has chosen. Now it’s up to those who won to make proposals,” Renzi said. “I take all responsibility for the defeat.”

Italians voted Sunday on whether to significantly cut the number of senators in Italy’s government, a move Renzi argued would significantly cut bureaucracy in Italy — an obscure debate if it were not for Renzi’s declaration earlier this year that he would resign if “Yes” did not win.

“No” won by a large margin, with results currently showing 60%-40% in its favour.

The result is seen as a rejection of Renzi and his leadership, and leaves an opening for Beppe Grillo and his increasingly powerful populist Five Star Movement to fill the void.

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