Ital­ian premier told to stay put a bit more; foes press for vote

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

ROME | Calls mounted rapidly Mon­day from pop­ulist and other op­po­si­tion lead­ers for quick elec­tions in Italy, seek­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on Premier Mat­teo Renzi’s hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat in a ref­er­en­dum on gov­ern­ment-cham­pi­oned re­forms. The pres­i­dent, how­ever, told Mr. Renzi to stay in of­fice a bit longer un­til a crit­i­cal bud­get law is passed. Some of­fi­cials say Par­lia­ment could pass that law as soon as the end of the week.

“With the ref­er­en­dum vote, the Ital­ians have ex­pressed a clear po­lit­i­cal sig­nal — the de­sire to go as soon as pos­si­ble to elec­tions,” wrote Vito Crimi and Danilo Toninelli, two of the top lead­ers of the pop­ulist, anti-euro 5-Star Move­ment in a piece ac­com­pa­ny­ing the blog of the Move­ment founder, comic Beppe Grillo.

Barely an hour af­ter the ref­er­en­dum was re­sound­ingly re­jected Sun­day by vot­ers, Mr. Renzi an­nounced he would keep his prom­ise to quit if the mea­sures fail to win pop­u­lar muster. With the de­feat plung­ing Europe’s fourth-largest econ­omy into po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty, and fi­nan­cial mar­kets seek­ing re­as­sur­ances, Pres­i­dent Ser­gio Mattarella asked Mr. Renzi to hold off on leav­ing un­til the bud­get leg­is­la­tion is passed.

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