Italian constitutional referendum, Matteo Renzi resigns after defeat

Italy overwhelmingly voted no in the constitutional referendum held on 4 December, rejecting the reform. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announces resignation.

On Sunday 4 December Italians were asked in a popular referendum (constitutional referendum) whether they wanted to accept or not the constitutional law approved by the Parliament and published in the Official Gazette nr. 88 on 15 April 2016. 59.95 percent of the Italian people voted no, while just 40.05 percent of voters answered yes, so the reform was rejected. For this reason, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his resignation fulfilling the promise he made during the election campaign. The turnout at the polls reached 68.4 percent, with 31,997,916 voters.

“I take full responsibility for the defeat” (Matteo Renzi)

“It was an extraordinarily clear defeat. Now it’s up to the winners to bring forward serious and credible proposals”, Matteo Renzi stated during the press release that took place at the Palazzo Chigi after midnight. “I take full responsibility for the defeat. If you fight for an idea, you cannot lose”. He told those who voted yes “be proud of you”.

“I lost and I say it aloud, even if I have a knot in my throat.  I believe in democracy and for this reason my experience of government finishes here”, Renzi declared. “Tomorrow afternoon I will front the council of ministers, thank my colleagues for this extraordinary period and resign”.

Now President of Italy Sergio Mattarella should make the next move: cast another personality of the current majority in the role (including Piercarlo Padoan, Graziano Delrio, Dario Franceschini or the President of the Senate Pietro Grasso) or call snap elections – as the opposition and mostly the Northern League and 5 Star Movement hope for.

Italian constitutional referendum: regions with the most and least votes

Northern regions had the most votes, while southern ones had the least votes. The region with the most votes was Emilia-Romagna with 75.93 percent of turnout at the polls, the region with the least votes was Calabria with a turnout of 54.43 percent.

30.89 percent of Italian people living abroad went to the polls. This is a high percentage considering that 32 percent of them voted in the political elections 2013 and 19 percent of them voted in the oil drilling referendum.

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