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Italian PM Matteo Renzi resigns after referendum defeat

The Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said he will resign on Wednesday evening following approval of the 2017 national budget.

He offered his resignation following defeat in Sunday's referendum on legislative changes.

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Italian populist party 'poised to govern'

5-Star Movement leader Beppe Grillo Credit: Reuters

The populist 5-Star Movement says it's poised to govern Italy now that Premier Matteo Renzi has announced his resignation.

The Movement, led by comic Beppe Grillo, spearheaded the winning "No"-vote campaign in a referendum on constitutional reforms.

Grillo called for an election to be called "within a week".

Luigi Di Maio, a 5-Star leader, says the vote shows "it's the citizens who run the institutions," not one man like Renzi.

Di Maio says "starting tomorrow we'll be at work on a 5-Star government."

Renzi said the reforms would have cut Italy's bureaucracy and made the country more competitive.

His opponents were hoping to tap into the populist sentiment that has been gaining ground in Europe with Brexit and in the US with the election of Donald Trump.

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