The Italian constitutional referendum’s failure may eventually lead the opposition to power, head of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Monday. He pointed out that the Italian opposition forces stood for lifting anti-Russian sanctions.

 

Italian referendum

 

Slutsky also said that “the opposition believes that the referendum’s outcome marks their victory so now they are demanding early parliamentary elections.” “At the same time we should understand that if early parliamentary elections are conducted, the opposition members may come to power who support lifting anti-Russian sanctions, and some of them have even visited Crimea. So we can truly say that Italy has come close to lifting sanctions on Russia,” the lawmaker stressed.

 

According to Slutsky, “only the possibility of this is sure to deliver a significant blow to the European Union’s cohesion.” “The failure of the Italian constitutional referendum is the country’s internal affair. But this undoubtedly resembles the Brexit vote, not only threatening to result in the prime minister’s resignation but also it could affect the entire EU,” the Russian lawmaker added.

 

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced earlier on Monday that he intended to resign, conceding defeat in the constitutional referendum. According to the exit polls, around 60% of those taking part in the plebiscite voted against parliamentary reform while nearly 40% voted in its favor. The opposition had spoken out against Renzi’s initiatives insisting on his resignation in the event voters did not support him.