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Matteo Renzi: Referendum or Bust

Matteo Renzi: Referendum Or Bust
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has put his entire political career on the line over next month’s constitutional referendum, which seeks to controversially strengthen the presidency and recentralize power away from the regions, and the voters' decision will have a long echo over all of Europe.

What is at stake in Italy is not only the political future of Matteo Renzi, who is facing a do-or-die test of his own, but also the fragile check-and-balance system inside the European Union which has its own groups of interests. If Matteo Renzi steps down after his initiative fails, the move can have a destabilizing effect for the European leadership, of which Mr. Renzi is a fundamental part alongside Angela Merkel.

Polling data indicates that the Italian leader’s initiatives will have a very tough time passing, with a reinvigorated anti-establishment opposition from both sides of the political spectrum poised to unite in voting down his proposals. Some experts fear that a defeat for the Prime Minister will send the country back into political chaos by triggering early elections and damaging investor confidence in its debt-plagued economy, but a surprise victory would fundamentally transform Italian politics and herald in the beginning of an entirely new era.

An emboldened executive combined with an empowered central government would make it easier for the country’s leaders to carry through on their policies, though the Senate would become symbolic and regional sovereignty would suffer.

To disciss this topic in more detail we are joined by Sergei Utkin, head of Strategic Assessment Section at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (studio guest), Domitilla Sagramoso, lecturer, Department of War Studies, King's College London, Giancarlo Loquenzi, radio host and independent expert and Fabrizio Dragosei, Moscow orrespondent of Corriere della Sera.

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