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12/9/16

Italy: No, Italy's referendum is not the same as Trump or Brexit - by Catherine Edwards

As the world digested the news of Italian PM Matteo Renzi's resignation following the rejection of his proposed set of reforms, the referendum has been painted by some as 2016's third 'anti-establishment' revolt.

While there are some obvious similarities between the victory for No in the referendum and two other political upsets of the year - Britain's vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump's election as US president - there are also several crucial differences.

“Like Brexit and Trump, the outcome of the Italian referendum has been a great surprise, but for the opposite reason," explained James Newall, a UK-based professor and expert in Italian politics. "Polls suggested that the result would be very close and instead there has been a decisive and unequivocal result."

Indeed, the final count showed that Italians rejected the proposed reforms by 60 to 40 percent, following a 68 percent turnout - extremely high by Italian standards. Unlike Brexit, where the small margin has led to calls for a second referendum from some quarters, the Italian vote is, as Renzi acknowledged on Sunday night, "extraordinarily clear".

Exactly how we should best interpret the result is less clear.

Read moreL No, Italy's referendum is not the same as Trump or Brexit - The Local

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