Italians head to polls in referendum vote which could cripple Brussels bloc

Voters are being asked to answer “yes” or “no” to a controversial amendment to Italy’s constitution which would see considerable political power transferred to the country’s executive branch – potentially wrestling power away from unelected Eurocrats in Brussels.

A vote for “no” has been framed as a vote against the establishment and for a more populist form of politics. Brussels bureaucrats have been left terrified by the Italian prime minister’s decision to allow voters to take to the polls, reminds.

Matteo Renzi has promised to resign should the country vote against his will, and with polls suggesting the referendum is too close to call, the Italian politician could be the latest victim of populist politics in 2016.

A confident Renzi pledged to resign when polls suggested his side was winning but recent data suggests the polls are neck and neck. If the prime minister keeps his word, the country could plunge the rest of Europe into political chaos – leaving flailing europhiles petrified.

European leaders await the result anxiously, fearing the economic instability a “no” vote would bring to an already crumbling European Union.

Italy’s anti-establishment parties are waiting to pounce on the opportunity a broken Democratic party would leave. Italy’s Lega Nord, or Northern League, is a far-right nationalist party led by MEP Matteo Salvini – who has enjoyed a boost in popularity for his anti-immigration rhetoric and pledge to get the country shot of the buckling EU dictatorship.

And the anti-establishment Five Star Movement – led by Italian comedian Beppe Grillo – threatens to wrestle support from Renzi’s centrist Democratic Party thanks to its strong grassroots support.