FIRST THE UK, THEN THE US, NOW ITALY? Voters in Italy are voting on a constitutional reform today that could lead to the assumption of power of anti-EU politicians:
Italians started to vote on Sunday in a referendum on constitutional reform which will decide the political future of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who has promised to resign if he loses.
Financial markets and Europe's politicians fear victory for the opposition 'No' camp could trigger political instability and renewed turmoil for Italy's battered banks, pushing the euro zone towards a fresh crisis.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. (0600 GMT), with about 51 million Italians eligible to vote on Renzi's plan to drastically reduce the role of the upper house Senate and claw back powers from regional authorities.
With all the opposition parties lined up against the reform, a victory for Renzi would be a surprise and represent an enormous personal triumph for Italy's youngest prime minister who often appeared to be fighting the campaign single-handed.
All surveys published in the month before a blackout was imposed on Nov. 18 put the 'No' camp ahead. Private polls have continued to be conducted in the last two weeks and bookmakers say 'No' remains the clear favorite to win.
However, in the final days of frenetic campaigning Renzi insisted the public mood was changing, focusing his attention on the millions of Italians who said they were undecided.
Pippo Nicosia, a stall-holder at Campo dei Fiori market in central Rome, said he would vote 'Yes' but had no doubt about the result. "'No' will win, everything will collapse so we might as well all go on holiday," he said.