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A No vote in Italy's referendum would be a 'missed opportunity': Padoan

This December, Italians will head to the polls to vote on the country's referendum on constitutional reform. Yet if the public votes against it, it will be seen as a "missed opportunity", Italy's finance minister told CNBC.

"If there is a 'No' vote — which I hope will not be the case — it will be basically a missed opportunity for the country," Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy's Finance Minister told CNBC Friday.

At present, any Italian law needs to be approved by both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, often resulting in delays in effecting new laws and reforms. However on December 4, the Italian public will get to decide whether they want to stick with the old or shake things up, by restructuring the legislative process by effectively reducing the second chamber's power.

If the country sticks to the existing system, the country will be stuck with the system's "many flaws", Padoan added, saying that the constitutional reform will be about making the system "more efficient, more stable and more long-term determined."


Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan smiles.
Gabriel Bouys | AFP | Getty Images
Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan smiles.

As with recent political events, markets have shown some signs of nervousness about the upcoming Italian referendum, yet Padoan said he believed the markets were "overstating the consequences" of a potential close run between a "yes" or "no" vote.

Other uncertainties around the referendum involve the country's Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi who has said in previous months that he would resign and abandon politics if the constitutional reforms were not passed.

Yet despite Renzi's previous statements, the country's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said last week that the government would not resign, Reuters reported. According to the same news agency, the majority of recent opinion polls suggest that the reform will not be accepted, however a large selection of voters still have yet to decide.

One country that has already voted 'no' in its own referendum is fellow European country, Britain. Weighing in on the Brexit debate in Washington D.C., Padoan said there was "no issue about punishing anybody" when it came to the country's decision to vote to leave, but rather it was more to do with "taking responsibility."

"After all this is a decision of the U.K. voters to leave the European Union. Fine. I think it was a wrong decision but anyway it's taken, so the consequences should be taken with full responsibility."

"And of course, this should not be a threat to the integrity of the European institution building up, which includes the single market."

—CNBC's Holly Ellyatt and Reuters contributed to this report

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