Italians head for polls in referendum as anxious Europe looks on

Italians are heading to the polls in a
referendum which could have significant ramifications for the whole of Europe.

The public are being asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to constitutional change which would reduce the power of the Italian senate in order to streamline Italy’s notoriously gridlocked legislative process.

On the face of it, it’s dry domestic politics which, while important for Italy, wouldn’t normally prick much interest beyond the
country.

However, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who called the referendum and wants the change to be voted for, has staked his political career on winning.

If the vote is ‘no’, he has pledged to resign; a promise he made when the polls suggested he’d win by a margin.

Now the polls are neck and neck. If he sticks to his resignation pledge, it could plunge the country into political turmoil.

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