News: The UK votes to leave the European Union



Reporting from #Brexit:
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(UPDATED) Lured by the promise of regaining control of their own destiny and reining in high levels of immigration, Britons chose to break from a 28-nation alliance that has offered unfettered trade access and the free movement of labor across its borders

LONG NIGHT. Staff count ballot papers at the Glasgow count center at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, Scotland, on June 23, 2016 after polls closed in the referendum on whether the UK will remain or stay in the European Union (EU). Robert Perry/AFP
LONG NIGHT. Staff count ballot papers at the Glasgow count center at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow, Scotland, on June 23, 2016 after polls closed in the referendum on whether the UK will remain or stay in the European Union (EU). Robert Perry/AFP

LONDON, United Kingdom (8th UPDATE) – It's "out."

The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a historic referendum, British media reported Friday, June 24.

Voters decided 52% to 48% in favor of quitting the bloc with 374 out of 382 regional results declared.

With 16.8 million votes for "Leave" and 15.7 million for "Remain", it is now mathematically impossible for "Remain" to win, the BBC reported.

Lured by the promise of regaining control of their own destiny and reining in high levels of immigration, Britons chose to break from a 28-nation alliance that has offered unfettered trade access and the free movement of labor across its borders.

Their decision will undoubtedly re-awaken fears of a domino-effect ripple of exit votes in EU-skeptic members that could imperil the integrity of the bloc, already struggling with twin economic and refugee crises.

High turnout

A record 46.5 million people registered to vote in the once-in-a-generation referendum. Turnout was at 72.2%.

The historic referendum asked: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

Investors scrambled to sell the pound, oil and stocks as Britain took a lurch into the unknown, becoming the first country to quit in the EU's 60-year history, a culmination of decades of suspicion over European aims of creating an ever-closer political union.

Sterling tumbled to $1.3466, its weakest level since 1985.

"Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day," said top anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, who has promised Britons the chance to retake power from Brussels and rein in high immigration.

"The euroskeptic genie is out of the bottle and it will now not be put back," Farage said.

Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders and French National Front leader Marine Le Pen immediately called for a referendums on EU membership in their own countries.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who led the ultimately doomed struggle to sway voters in favor of sticking with Brussels, will face immediate pressure to resign.

The bookmakers' favorite to replace him is former London mayor Boris Johnson, a rival from within his ruling Conservative Party who was the "Leave" camp figurehead.

Going it alone

The result means the world's fifth largest economy must now go it alone in the global economy, striking a new trade relationship with the bloc it is abandoning and brokering new deals with all the countries it now trades with under the EU's umbrella.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has said the EU will "not be bending over backwards" to help Britain in those negotiations. Analysts say it could take the island nation a decade to secure new trade accords worldwide.

In a worst-case scenario, the International Monetary Fund has warned that the British economy could sink into recession next year and overall economic output would be 5.6% lower than otherwise forecast by 2019, with unemployment rising back above 6%.

Thousands of jobs in the City could be transferred to Frankfurt or Paris, top companies have warned. The Brexit camp has argued that the business world will adapt quickly, however, with Britain's flexible and dynamic economy buoyed by new economic partners and selective immigration.

European leaders will open a two-day summit on Tuesday, June 28, to grapple with the British decision.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned this month that a British departure would be a shock requiring quick action to avert the "disintegration" of the bloc.

"Small countries that are economically at least as affluent as the UK are the main ones at risk, especially Denmark and potentially also Sweden," said Carsten Nickels of the Teneo analyst group in Brussels.

Immigration and an erosion of economic security have become rallying cries for populist challenges that remain scattered across in Europe, just as they have for Donald Trump's campaign in the US presidential election.

The bloc will have to learn lessons not only from events in Britain but from the rest of Europe, Juncker said ahead of the referendum, warning against a rapid push for more integration.

"This euroskepticism is not only present in Britain," he said. – With reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com

Source: Brexit


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