Italy PM Matteo Renzi makes final plea before referendum vote | News | DW | 03.12.2016
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Italy PM Matteo Renzi makes final plea before referendum vote

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi appealed to citizens to support a referendum to change the nation's constitution. Renzi vowed to resign if the referendum is not approved.

With his political career on the line, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi made his final appeal to Italians to vote in Sunday's referendum.

"[This Sunday] could change the lives of our children," Renzi told a rally in his home city of Florence on Friday.

Though there was a blackout on the publication of polls imposed on November 18, private polls show the "No" vote is favored to win Sunday's vote. Bookmakers estimate a 75 percent chance of a "No" result.

A "No" vote might see "48 hours of turbulence," according to Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan. Renzi is expected to resign as prime minister should the "No" vote succeed.

European shares fell to a three-week low on Friday as investors were cautious ahead of the vote. Market concerns have been focused on Italy's banks, saddled with 360 billion euros ($380 billion) of bad loans. Many of those bad loans are placed on Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy's oldest and third largest lender.

Opposing parties are hoping for a "No" vote. Some worry a "No" vote may allow populist parties into the Italian parliament. Beppe Grillo, founder of the populist, anti-establishment 5-star movement, which backs a "No" vote, told a crowd in Turin, "we are a country that is stuck in the mud."

kbd/jlw (AFP, Reuters)

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