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