>> He said he'd stay as Italy's prime minister until that budget was passed, and he couldn't have got to the door much quicker. Matteo Renzi resigning within hours of a vote to approve the government's 2017 financial plan. Reuters Isla Binnie in Rome says, after the crushing rejection of Sunday's referendum, staying on wasn't really an option.
>> Having lost the referendum on which he had pinned his career, it seems that Renzi would be politically weakened. Also the turnout in the referendum was very high, so it has been seen as a defeat for him. And he did pledge, earlier in the campaign when public support seemed to be on his side, he did pledge to leave politics entirely.
>> Renzi is seen as the architect of his own downfall as prime minister, tying his future to a failed constitutional referendum amid a populous backlash that led to Trump and Brexit. At 41, he could be young enough to engineer a comeback. That's something critics say the Italian economy can only dream of, as Italy's banks face a debt crisis, and its third largest lender struggles to survive.
If Italy's President Sergio Mattarella asks him to, Renzi may end up having to stay in office as caretaker to sort that one out.>>
>> In the meantime, parties waiting impatiently in the wings. Among them the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by former comedian Beppe Grillo. Their call for early elections now a very real possibility.