Renzi Removed

The 2016 Italian Constitutional Referendum and Its Outcome

in Italian Politics
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The referendum of 4 December 2016 on Renzi’s proposed constitutional reform was the most significant in Italy since the referendum that rejected Berlusconi’s proposal in 2006. The 2016 outcome was more dramatic than its predecessor as it resulted in the resignation of the prime minister, who was succeeded in the office by Paolo Gentiloni. The referendum campaign was less concerned with the merits of the reform itself than with delivering an electoral verdict on the Renzi government. This was caused partly by Renzi himself, who declared that he would resign if the referendum failed, and partly by the inevitable partisanship of much of the voting and the influence of populist parties, which tapped into the dissatisfaction that many Italian voters felt. With two popular rejections of “great reform” proposals in the space of a decade, the future of institutional reform on such a grand scale is now in doubt.