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Italian prime minister to resign following referendum defeat

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced early Monday that he will turn in his formal resignation to President Sergio Mattarella later in the day, following a heavy defeat in his referendum on constitutional reforms.

Renzi said he took "full responsibility" for the loss, adding, "We gave the Italians an opportunity to change, but we didn't succeed." Renzi took office two-and-a-half-years ago promising to be an anti-establishment "demolition man," and the referendum was designed to reduce the powers of the upper house Senate and regional authorities in order to quicken the legislative process.

Renzi was up against every major opposition party, and early projections showed him only having slightly more than 40 percent of the vote. Mattarella will select a new prime minister, Italy's fifth in as many years, with elections not scheduled until 2018. As Renzi made his resignation announcement, the euro fell to a 20-month low.