ITALY is set to hold a referendum on parliamentary reform which could become a poll on the EU in the wake of the UK's Brexit decision.
The autumn vote is about major constitutional change to Rome's notoriously slow and costly system of government.
But pro-EU Premier Matteo Renzi has staked his political future on the outcome and will stand down if his proposals are defeated.
This has been seized upon by opposition parties who want away from Brussels and, with Brexit bring bringing pro or anti-Europe sentiment into focus, are gaining support and preparing for a fight.
And if enough anti-EU protest voters are mobilised to outnumber those who back the prime minister's reform laws he will be forced to pack his bags.
Mr Renzi insists the referendum is not comparable to the UK referendum and is confident of success.
He said: "I don't believe it will be the same thing. The UK held a referendum on Europe, and in my opinion the EU was blamed for everything that failed to happen.
"The Italian referendum is something else - we've been saying for 30 years constitutional reforms are needed because we have the largest and costliest parliament in the world, and I will do everything in my power to make sure the constitutional reform law is voted on its merits."
Credit to The Express.co.uk