A man holds a banner reading "I say no" during a march in support of the 'No' vote in the constitutional reform referendum in Rome, Italy November 26, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
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The resounding "No" from Italian voters to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's referendum on constitutional reform was not a rejection of the European Union and its single currency, as jubilant populists from across the bloc claimed Monday. But the vote, which pushes Renzi out of office, does represent a significant setback for Europe at a time when its leaders are scrambling to mount a credible response to Brexit, the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and their stubborn economic woes at home.Renzi, seen by his European partners as an anchor of stability in a country where political upheaval has been the norm for decades, won just over 40 percent of the vote in the referendum, a far worse result than polls had predicted.After the Brexit vote went bad for David Cameron in June, it is the second time in half a year that the leader of a major EU member state tied his future to a referendum and lost, a development that was seized upon by the region's anti-EU firebrands.Far more than the Italian referendum, the French vote is shaping up as a make-or-break moment for Europe and its political mainstream.
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