Europe

Italians vote in referendum; Renzi vows to quit if he loses

  • Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, top right, is cheese day supporters after addressing a rally on the upcoming Italian constitutional referendum in Florence, Italy, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. (Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA via AP)

    Italian Premier Matteo Renzi, top right, is cheese day supporters after addressing a rally on the upcoming Italian constitutional referendum in Florence, Italy, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. (Maurizio Degl'Innocenti/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Leader of Five-Star Movement Beppe Grillo waves as he addresses a rally on the upcoming Italian constitutional referendum in Turin, Italy, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. (Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP)

    Leader of Five-Star Movement Beppe Grillo waves as he addresses a rally on the upcoming Italian constitutional referendum in Turin, Italy, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. (Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is flanked by his wife Agnese as he casts his ballot at a polling station in Pontassieve, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Italians are voting in a referendum on constitutional reforms that is being closely watched abroad to see if Italy is the next country to reject the political status quo. Premier Matteo Renzi has said he would resign if the reforms are rejected in Sunday's vote, and opposition politicians have vowed to press for a new government if voters reject the proposed constitutional changes. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

    Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is flanked by his wife Agnese as he casts his ballot at a polling station in Pontassieve, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Italians are voting in a referendum on constitutional reforms that is being closely watched abroad to see if Italy is the next country to reject the political status quo. Premier Matteo Renzi has said he would resign if the reforms are rejected in Sunday's vote, and opposition politicians have vowed to press for a new government if voters reject the proposed constitutional changes. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)  (The Associated Press)

Italians are voting in a referendum on constitutional reforms that is being closely watched abroad to see if Italy is the next country to reject the political status quo.

Premier Matteo Renzi says he will resign if the reforms are rejected in Sunday's vote, and opposition politicians have vowed to press for a new government if voters reject the proposed constitutional changes.

The risk of political instability has triggered market reaction before the vote, with bank stocks sinking and the borrowing costs on sovereign debt rising.

The referendum aims to streamline Italy's cumbersome lawmaking process by reducing the powers of the Senate while also removing some key decision-making powers from regions.

Polls are open Sunday for 16 hours starting at 7 a.m. (0600 GMT).