Italy’s Prime Minister intends to resign after referendum defeat

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announces his resignation during a press conference at the Palazzo Chigi after the results of the vote for a referendum on constitutional reforms, on December 4, 2016 in Rome. "My experience of government finishes here," Renzi told a press conference after the No campaign won what he described as an "extraordinarily clear" victory in the referendum on which he had staked his future. ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announces his resignation during a press conference at the Palazzo Chigi after the results of the vote for a referendum on constitutional reforms, on December 4, 2016 in Rome. “My experience of government finishes here,” Renzi told a press conference after the No campaign won what he described as an “extraordinarily clear” victory in the referendum on which he had staked his future.
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

The Local/AFP – Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi announced that he would resign on Sunday night after exit polls showed a heavy defeat in his referendum on constitutional reforms.
Speaking from Palazzo Chigi at 00:30, the premier said he took “full responsibility” for the defeat.

“My government ends here,” Renzi told reporters, confirming a promise he made early on in the campaign and which he later admitted had been a mistake, that he would resign if defeated at the polls.

The PM said he would officially hand in his resignation on Monday after the “extraordinarily clear” victory for the No camp. “I wanted to reduce the number of seats,” said Renzi, referring to the reform which would have seen the number of senators cut significantly. “In the end, the seat which is going is mine.”

Polls for national broadcaster Rai and the La7 television channel both gave the No camp as winners by a margin of at least 54 to 46 percent in Sunday’s referendum.

One poll, from the IPR Marketing Institute for Rai, put No at between 57 and 61 percent.

The higher percentage came from the first poll based on actual vote count, suggesting that Renzi may be in for an even heavier defeat than predicted in initial exit polls. These had given the No camp a lead of between six and 14 points.

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