June 24, 2016 Ecerpts from Huffingtonpost
The United Kingdom will exit the European Union, as a majority of British voters chose “leave” over “remain” in the country’s EU referendum on Thursday, the BBC projected. The result plunges Britain into an uncertain future, with both serious and immediate political and economic ramifications.
The “leave” campaign took a surprising early lead hours after the polls closed, and edged further ahead as the counting continued. With “leave” leading, the British pound plummeted to the lowest in 31 years, the The Associated Press reported. U.S. financial markets were expected to open sharply lower.
“The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” said Nigel Farage, the anti-EU leader of the U.K. Independence Party. “Let June 23 go down in our history as our independence day.”
The U.K. will now enter into a two-year negotiation with the EU on how its exit will be handled, although it could take even longer. The country is bracing for market turmoil and a potential large scale depreciation in the value of the British pound. Focus also turns to Prime Minister David Cameron, who urged Britons to “remain” and is likely to face pressure to resign following the “leave” result.
Polls Extremely Tight Before The Vote
Polling in the week before the referendum showed an almost dead heat between the “leave” and “remain” camps, with the latter taking a slight lead Thursday. A significant number of voters — around 10 percent — were undecided just days before the vote.
Earlier this month, a number of polls showed the “leave” side pulling ahead after lagging behind for much of the contest. As the referendum neared, however, support for both sides was almost equal.
Meanwhile, Britain’s betting houses split with the polls and odds suggested the U.K. would opt to stay in the Union.