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Britain backs Brexit

Britain has voted to leave the European Union in an historic referendum, with ‘Leave’ voted by 52 percent of ballots, against 48 percent for ‘Remain’, capping a deeply divisive campaign
Britain swept away 50 years of foreign policy, turning its back on the EU, in a moment of extraordinary political upheaval that deposed its prime minister, sank its currency and reopened the possibility of Scottish independence.

Flags of support for exit from EU, near the British PM’s residence

After a lengthy and bad-tempered referendum campaign, Britons voted by 52 percent to sever the country’s 43-year membership of the EU, sending tremors across Europe and triggering financial market turmoil across the globe. An emotional Mr. Cameron said he would remain in office for the next few months to ‘steady the ship’ while the Conservative party chose a new leader but that Britain needed ‘fresh leadership’ to take it in the new direction chosen by voters.

The vote dismayed Britain’s allies and pitched the country into a period of deep political and economic uncertainty. It also poses an existential challenge to the EU after nearly six decades of integration. “It’s an explosive shock. At stake is the break up pure and simple of the union,” Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, said. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany called it a ‘turning point for Europe’. 

‘Remain’ headquarters of those against Brexit disappointed

The ramifications of the decision were laid bare when Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, which voted to stay in the EU, said a second vote on independence was ‘highly likely’ two years after the last plebiscite.

London also ran into immediate resistance from the rest of the bloc, where there is growing impatience with the British. EU leaders said there would be no renegotiation of Britain’s membership terms and demanded that the UK swiftly engage in exit talks and invoke article 50 of the EU treaties, which sets a two-year deadline. EU officials said their warning was not aimed at Mr. Cameron but at his successor, who is expected to take over by October.
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