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Monday, December 5, 2016, 11:20

Renzi quits; Italian populists seek quick vote to win power

By Associated Press
Renzi quits; Italian populists seek quick vote to win power
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks during a press conference in Rome, early Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, where he conceded defeat in a constitutional referendum. Italians voted Sunday in a referendum on constitutional reforms that Premier Matteo Renzi has staked his political future on. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)

ROME — Italian voters dealt Premier Matteo Renzi a stinging defeat on his reforms referendum, triggering his resignation announcement and galvanizing the populist, opposition 5-Star Movement's determination to gain national power soon.

I lost, and the post that gets eliminated is mine

Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister

"I lost, and the post that gets eliminated is mine," Renzi said early Monday about an hour after the polls closed. "The government's experience is over, and in the afternoon I'll go to the Quirinal Hill to hand in my resignation" to President Sergio Mattarella.

Besides the "anti-establishment" 5-Stars, the outcome energized another "anti" party, the anti-immigrant Northern League, an ally of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, a candidate in France's presidential race.

Renzi quits; Italian populists seek quick vote to win power
Anti-referendum militants gather in downtown Rome after Italian Premier Matteo Renzi conceded defeat in a constitutional referendum and announced he will resign in Rome, early Monday, Dec 5, 2016. Banner in Italian reads "You wanted to change the Constitution? Goodby Bella". (AP / Gregorio Borgia)

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