Italy’s political and financial woes a threat to European stability

Matteo Renzi’s resignation is latest upset to a Europe facing altered leadership landscape

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: was a committed European and  powerful voice against the austerity promulgated by Berlin and Brussels.  Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi: was a committed European and powerful voice against the austerity promulgated by Berlin and Brussels. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi

Political instability reached the shores of continental Europe this week as Austrian and Italian voters went to the polls in two very different, but equally important, ballots.

Relief at the defeat of Austria’s far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer late on Sunday afternoon swiftly gave away to anxiety, as Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi’s proposal for constitutional reform was decisively rejected by voters, prompting his resignation.

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