Italy's high court approves referendum sought by Renzi

Italy's highest court has given the green light to a referendum on constitutional changes sought by Premier Matteo Renzi that will test the staying power of his center-left government.

The referendum proposes a raft of constitutional changes, including greatly reducing the power of the Senate, abolishing the provinces and giving the central government control of some policy areas that now lie with the regions, including energy and strategic infrastructure.

With the Cassation Court's approval on Monday, Renzi's government has 60 days to set a vote, expected in November.

Renzi has said he would resign if the referendum fails, coalescing opposition forces seeking to take advantage of widespread popular anger at slow economic growth, corruption scandals and the government's performance. Polls indicate a close result with a third of voters undecided.