Union flag banners hang across a street near the Houses of Parliament in central London on June 25, 2016, after the announcement that the UK had voted on June 23 to leave the European Union in a national referendum. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought Saturday to temper pressure from Paris, Brussels and her own government to force Britain into negotiating a quick divorce from the EU, despite warnings that hesitation will let populism take hold.With the referendum decision finally made on Thursday and Prime Minister David Cameron having announced his resignation, European politicians and institutions felt free to shower demands on Britain over its future outside the world's largest trading bloc.Almost alone in continental Europe, Merkel tried to slow the rush to get Britain out of the EU door.Merkel appeared more conciliatory than others within her coalition government and elsewhere in Europe.In Britain itself, divisions widened after the relatively close 52-48 percent vote.More than 2.4 million Britons signed a petition on parliament's website, posted before the vote, calling for a second EU referendum if the outcome was close on a turnout of less than 75 percent – three points above Thursday's figure. The only way around this was for Britain to follow Norway, which lies outside the EU but has joined the single market.Those among the more than 16 million who voted to stay in the EU also raised their voices.
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