People march behind a banner portraying Italian premier Matteo Renzi and reading "Let's oust Renzi" during a demonstration ahead of a referendum over a constitutional reform.(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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While Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, Renzi has promised to resign if he does not win a Dec. 4 referendum on constitutional reform, opening the way for renewed political instability in the eurozone's third-largest economy.The Italian president could appeal to Renzi's sense of responsibility and ask him to seek a new mandate from Parliament.Renzi says the project is necessary to make Italy, which has had 63 governments since 1948, governable enough to enact reforms needed to revive its moribund economy.Initially the plan was backed by 70 percent of Italians, but when an overconfident Renzi said at the end of 2015 he would resign if defeated, opposition parties turned the referendum into a de facto ballot on his 2-1/2 years in office.Renzi was so confident of victory in the referendum that he introduced a new electoral law in 2015 just for the lower house, believing the Senate would no longer be in play.Renzi's allies fear he will be held responsible for its actions even if he is not prime minister.
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