Brexit to be a reality: Britain votes to leave the European Union

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The results of the momentous British referendum on whether or not the country must remain in the European Union was announced on Friday morning, with 51.9% of the populace voting in favour of Brexit: Britain’s exit from the EU. The victory was close, with 48.1% voting to remain in the EU. The majority in England voted for an exit, whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. The turnout at the referendum reached 72% with approximately 30 million voters.

British PM David Cameron, in an address to the public, announced that he will continue as PM for the next 3 months, after which the country and the Conservative Party will require fresh leadership. “I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination. But, I will do everything I can in future to make this country great,” he said, after the UK voted in favour of Brexit, breaking over 40 years of post-war legacy.

Consequences of the Brexit poll

Within hours of the result being announced, the pound sterling has crashed to its lowest level since 1985, with bank stocks taking a deep plunge. Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party, who was strongly in favour of Brexit, has termed the victory an ‘independence day’ for the United Kingdom. Cameron who was staunchly in favour of Britain remaining in the EU will have to resign after having been re-elected to office in 2015. He had sought a negotiation with the EU on the terms of British membership, rather than a complete exit.

Those in favour of Britain remaining within the EU believe that the common markets of the EU enable a flourishing British economy and an exit will only be harmful to British business interests since the EU’s policy of free trade will no longer be applicable to the UK. Britain’s exit may in turn weaken the European Union since the UK pays more into the EU budget that it gets out of it.

Indian politicians like Jairam Ramesh have been apprehensive of Brexit, with Ramesh calling the vote a ‘suicide.’  India’s major concern is its trade and foreign investments which may face an adverse backlash. Though financial markets across the world have fallen, Raghuram Rajan said that the RBI is prepared for any eventuality since India has a sizeable amount of foreign reserves.

Ever since Cameron announced in February this year that a referendum would be held to decide Britain’s membership to the European Union, opinion polls have been unable to clearly predict whether or not the country will vote in favour of an exit from the 28-member EU, which traces its origins to the aftermath of the Second World War. In announcing the referendum, Cameron was reacting to the demands of (mostly) Conservative MPs who claimed that the European Union’s regulations, particularly the Eurozone bailouts, were holding back the British economy through excessive control over its businesses. Those in favour of Brexit also pointed out the high levels of immigration into the UK as a reason for quitting the EU and its free movement policy. With the crippling refugee crisis at hand, Brexit propounders sought a tightening of immigration laws to reduce the inflow of workers into the UK, simultaneously seeking a greater degree of autonomy for Britain over its own borders and affairs.

On the international front, POTUS Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have been in favour of Britain remaining within the EU.

Read on to know more about the possible consequences of Brexit:

Image credits:

Abhinaya Harigovind

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[email protected] ; 'A self-confessed workaholic, I run on endless cups of coffee, last-minute panic, and the smell of fresh print on paper. Student of History at St.Stephen's College, but home and heart lie in Bangalore. Like Holden says, "I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot."'

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