Cameron resigns, markets roil, and right-wingers cheer as Brexit becomes reality
The world reacts in shock and dismay as United Kingdom votes to exit the European Union. (Photo: Nicolas Raymond/flickr/cc)
In the wake of Britain’s unprecedented vote to leave the European Union on Thursday, the initial wave of reaction was tumultuous: Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, global markets plunged, and right-wing leaders across Europe cheered—stoking fears that other nations may hold similar referendums to depart the EU in the future.
“The British people have made the very clear decision to take a different path and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction,” Cameron announced to the press on Friday. “I do not think it would be right for me to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.”
At one stage the prime minister appeared close to tears, The Independent reports.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who backed the “Remain” camp, is also facing a no-confidence motion from some of his Labour colleagues, who are asking him to “do the decent thing” and stand down.
As the European left lamented the outcome, global financial markets were plunged into volatility in response to what most considered a surprise referendum result. “World stocks saw more than $2 trillion wiped off their value, with indices across Europe heading for their sharpest one-day drops ever,” notes Reuters.
The pound sterling dropped to its lowest value against the dollar since 1985.
Right-wing leaders across Europe (and beyond) celebrated the vote. France’s right-wing nationalist party Front National (FN) “saw it as a clear boost for Marine Le Pen’s presidential bid next year and momentum for the party’s anti-Europe and anti-immigration line,” writes the Guardian.
“The freedom of the people always ends up winning! Bravo United Kingdom. Now it’s our turn!” tweeted the party’s vice president, according to the Guardian’s translation.
What follows is a roundup of what is certain to be a tumultuous day of European and world reaction, as politicians and political observers weigh in, human rights and environmental defenders fear for their causes, xenophobic ideologues express vindication, and various nations consider their next moves.
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