Matteo Renzi and wife Agnese

“Viva l’Italia. My government ends here.”

With these words, Prime Minister  Matteo Renzi said on Sunday night that he would resign. Shortly after midnight, Renzi acknowledged the result of the exit polls following the referendum held that day, which showed the “no front” camp ahead almost 60 percent. Voting had closed at 11 p.m. and by midnight, exit polls showed Italians rejecting Renzi’s proposal.

As reported, Renzi had been promoting a referendum to vote on a change in the country’s constitution, which he claimed would streamline Italy’s government decisions. Renzi, who had vowed to step down if he lost the referendum, took full responsibility for the defeat and he was true to his word.

Renzi said he would meet with Italian president Sergio Mattarella on Monday. The government is expected to continue to be in charge of normal daily administration and Mattarella may work to identify a person, who can form a new government in line with the parliament’s majority.  General elections are another alternative.

Renzi was sworn in two years ago and courted the fashion industry since then, with investments and opening Milan Fashion Week in February and September.  In return,  the fashion industry has firmly remained in his camp, underscoring his efforts to modernize the country and the period of stability Renzi offered.

Renzi had warned voters that if the referendum did not pass, whoever succeeds him will be “a slave to vetoes, blackmail and bureaucracy.” Those against the change claimed the chamber of deputies will end up having too much power.

The prime minister’s popularity has waned over the past few weeks. As of Nov. 22, according to data provided by Istituto Ixè for Agroà, only 4 percent of those polled declared having “much faith” in the Renzi government, 35 percent “little faith” and 34 percent “no faith.”