Italian Prime Minister Renzi was the only premier left in Europe with a vision for the EU’s future.
Italy wakes up on Monday to the threat of a banking crisis, political turmoil, and a group of anti-establishment populists banging on the doors of government. Eurozone beware and EU be warned. Italy is the euro currency’s third largest economy and it’s in for a bumpy ride. And there are more unpredictable votes to come in 2017: in France, Germany the Netherlands and perhaps here in Italy too.
Matteo Renzi’s staked his political future on his attempt to change Italy’s cumbersome political system. He wanted to strengthen central government and weaken the Senate, the upper house of parliament.
His opponents – including some within his own party – had argued that the reforms would give the prime minister too much power. The electorate agreed.
But the referendum was more than a vote on constitutional reform, it was widely regarded as a chance to reject establishment politics.
It was a resounding victory for the No camp, a medley of populist parties headed by Five Star Movement, which capitalised 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.
Spontaneous celebrations in the streets of Rome, after the referendum defeat and resignation of PM Matteo Renzi
Mr Renzi will hand in his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella later on Monday, following a final meeting with his cabinet.
The president may ask him to stay on at least until parliament has passed a budget bill due later this month.
In spite of the pressure from the opposition, early elections are thought to be unlikely.
Instead, the president may appoint a caretaker administration led by Mr Renzi’s Democratic Party, which would carry on until an election due in the spring of 2018.
Austria looks set to elect Norbert Höfer of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) as president.
Geert Wilders of the anti-Islam and anti-EU Party for Freedom (PVV) in Holland has called for a “European Patriotic Spring,” and vowed to “Make The Netherlands great again.” He is on track to rattle The Hague in the Dutch parliamentary elections in March, polling just behind Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party.
The elections that the EU is sweating about the most are those in its two richest and most populous member states, excluding Britain: France and Germany. Drivers of European integration, Paris and Berlin now face right-wing populist insurgencies of their own in the shape of Front National and Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).
Marine Le Pen (of France) and a host of right-wing politicians have heaped praise upon Italy’s decision to reject Matteo Renzi’s constitutional referendum – and heralded the rejection as the beginning of the end for the struggling EU.
Marine Le Pen is a French politician who is the president of the National Front, a national-conservative political party in France and one of its main political forces.
The first round of the 2017 French presidential election will be held on 23 April 2017. Should no candidate win an outright majority, a run-off between the top two will be held on 7 May 2017.
Current polls indicate it would be the center right republicans vs the National Front in the May runoff.
Fillion, Republican — a man who’s already been compared to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan — has economic plans that couldn’t be further from Le Pen’s protectionism. However, there is an overlap between the two. Like Le Pen, the former Prime Minister is tough on immigration and Islam, and promises to uplift the French national identity.
He has already rejected the idea that France could be a multi-cultural society. With the National Front at his flank, he will come under serious pressure to continue to re-nationalize French politics.
The next German federal elections will elect the members of the Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany, on a date to be determined.
German law requires that the next election should take place on a Sunday between 46–48 months after the assembly’s first sitting. Since the current Bundestag first sat on 22 October 2013, the latest date for the next election is 22 October 2017. The earliest date is 27 August 2017, the first Sunday after 22 August 2017. By convention, recent elections have been held in late September, avoiding the school holidays. Elections can be held earlier under certain conditions, such as the government losing a confidence motion.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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