Renzi renews pledge to resign if he loses referendum

Jacopo Landi | Nur

The economic and financial malaise is fueling support for the Five Star Movement, Italy's main populist opposition party that could form the next government should Prime Minister Matteo Renzi fail to secure a "Yes" vote in the upcoming referendum.

Renzi has for months been trying to backtrack on a statement staking his political future on the success of the December 4 referendum.

Renzi has promised to quit if his party's proposals are rejected by voters, and the results of the polls also suggest that Donald Trump's surprise victory in the United States presidential election last week has pushed the population towards an anti-establishment "no" vote. And the margin is growing.

The vote is still two weeks away, but a polling blackout will now apply, prohibiting the publication of any new opinion polls before the referendum.

The law was originally thought to favour Renzi's Democratic Party (PD), but the 5-Star's standing has since risen and all recent polls say it would easily triumph in a two-round race.

The cabinet would be tasked with amending the electoral law before a snap election. The Piepoli Institute for La Stampa put it at eight points, while another by Winpoll for the Huffington Post set it at seven points.

Hoever, they also said that even without Trump, the popular mood is moving against the premier.

Just a few days ago, pollsters were still urging extreme caution about the referendum result, underlining how surveys came unstuck over Trump's victory and in the June "Brexit" referendum in which Britons chose to leave the European Union.

Opponents of the reforms span the political spectrum, aligning political opponents on the far right and many on the left, including within Renzi's own party, who have said the change will dangerously weaken Italy's system of checks and balances.

"Nearly all the undecided voters would have to vote "Yes" for Renzi to recover, and that is certainly not the trend that we are seeing", said Mannheimer.

Polls vary over the number of voters still undecided. He is now touring the south of the country, where the "No" camp's lead is strongest.

Signor Renzi, can I introduce you to David Cameron?

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