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Italian PM Matteo Renzi loses poll and his position

By George Jahn

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has announced his resignation and said he takes "all responsibility" for a crushing defeat in the constitutional referendum.

Early results showed the No vote on 59% and on course to achieve the sizeable victory predicted by exit polls.

Mr Renzi had conflated his centrist leadership with a "Yes" vote and promised to step down if he lost.

The referendum had been viewed as a gauge of anti-establishment feeling in Europe.

Meanwhile, European leaders breathed a collective sigh of relief as Austria's eurosceptic, anti-immigration candidate - who threatened to become the country's first far-right head of state since Hitler - was defeated in the country's presidential election. Former Green party leader Alexander van der Bellen was re-elected in a closely fought poll after Norbert Hofer conceded defeat.

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