Italy’s Referendum Is Giving Matteo Renzi Sleepless Nights

Matteo Renzi
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi in his residence in Rome, July 2 (Palazzo Chigi)

European democracy is in a state of crisis. The British referendum on EU membership has just backfired spectacularly on its promoters, Austria’s far-right Freedom Party recently came within a hair’s breadth of capturing the presidency and in France, Marine Le Pen’s Front national looks set to make it through to the second round of voting in the French presidential elections next year.

Now Italy is facing its own moment of reckoning with a referendum on constitutional reform, likely to go ahead this autumn. Like Brexit, the decision to hold this vote might end up destroying the man who sponsored it — Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The reform is a package aimed at reducing the fragmentation that causes so many problems in Italian politics. The idea is to increase executive stability and the efficiency of the whole system. But Renzi has staked his political future on the outcome having said, earlier in the year, he would resign if the vote went against him. Read more “Italy’s Referendum Is Giving Matteo Renzi Sleepless Nights”