Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his immediate resignation from office Monday morning after a majority of his nation’s citizens had a day earlier rejected a series of constitutional reforms designed to essentially turn him into a king of sorts.
“My government ends today,” he said in a televised speech, as reported by Germany’s Deutsche Welle public international broadcasting service, adding that he could not refute the “extraordinarily clear” results of Sunday’s referendum. “I take full responsibility for this defeat.”
According to the BBC, the reforms proposed by Renzi would have strengthened the nation’s executive branch and weakened its Senate, thus providing him with far more power to ram his desired policies through without any impediments to block him.
A staggering 60 percent majority of the Italian people voted against the proposal, though their impassioned opposition to his scheme was rooted in more than just a desire to prevent the Democratic Party leader from acquiring too much power.
Their opposition was also rooted in the same anti-establishment fervor that earlier this year swept through both the U.K. and the United States, prompting their citizens to vote to exit the European Union and put billionaire businessman Donald Trump in the White House, respectively.
“It was a resounding victory for the No camp, a medley of populist parties headed by the (anti-establishment) Five Star Movement, which capitalized on Mr. Renzi’s declining popularity, years of economic stagnation and the problems caused by tens of thousands of migrants arriving in Italy from Africa,” the BBC explained.
What remained to be seen was what would happen next. The Wall Street Journal reported that Italian President Sergio Mattarella was expected to form a temporary caretaker government. Moreover, the new government would reportedly modify an electoral law passed under Renzi that would have afforded any national election winner who earned more than 40 percent of the votes extra seats to form a majority government.
While many Italian officials did not mind the law when it was passed under the auspices of a Democratic Party leader, they were now worried that the anti-establishment forces in Italy could use it to their advantage in the next general election.
They were afraid — and rightly so — because the people of their nation had just made it abundantly clear that they were fed up with the establishment and wanted a change. And as the recent history of events in the U.K. and the United States demonstrated, there was nothing the hacks in the Italian establishment could do to stop them.
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H/T The Daily Caller