European Elections: Implications for Italy and Europe

On December 4th 2016, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was roundly defeated in a referendum to change Italy’s constitution. The outcome was not unexpected, but with 59.1 percent of the Italians voting against the proposed reforms, and a high voter turnout (68 percent) it was a heavy defeat for the Prime Minister, and he initially announced his immediate resignation; the day after the vote, pressed by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, Renzi accepted to “freeze” his resignation until the final approval of the 2017 Budget Law. The Senate passed the Budget on December 7th, after which Renzi formally resigned.

On the same date, Austria held a rerun of its presidential election, after an earlier election in May had been annulled by the constitutional court after it had found evidence of postal voting irregularities. The May vote saw independent and pro-EU candidate Alexander Van der Bellen claim a narrow victory (just over 30,000 votes) over far-right and Eurosceptic candidate Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs). As the first projections of the rerun results came in, however, far-right candidate Norbert Hofer had to admit defeat as Van der Bellen’s share increased from 50.35 percent to 53.3 percent of the vote (final confirmation pending).

Our Global Public Affairs team has prepared briefing documents to explore the implications. Click here to read the full document.