Italian PM Renzi's future hangs in balance
Dec 4, Rome: Italians will be voting in a referendum which is being closely watched for further signs of anti-establishment sentiment in Europe.
The vote, called by centre-left Prime Minister Matteo Renzi,is being used by many as a chance to register discontent.
Populist parties have campaigned for a "no" vote and Renzi has said he will resign if he loses. A "no" vote for Mr Renzi would follow the UK's vote in June to leave the European Union, as well as the rise of the anti-immigrant Front National in France and populist parties elsewhere, along with Donald Trump's unexpected victory in the US presidential election.
The "no" campaign in Italy has been spearheaded by the the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by Beppe Grillo. It wants a referendum on whether Italy should keep the euro.The Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Northern League would receive a boost from the prime minister's defeat.
According to Renzi, the reforms will speed up the cumbersome law-making process in Italy, which has seen 60 governments since 1948.
Opponents say the proposals would concentrate too much power in the prime minister's hands.Some 50 million Italians have the right to vote in the referendum. An opinion poll in November gave the "no" vote a lead of at least five percentage points. But many Italians are thought to be still undecided.
The Oslo Times/Agencies