Britain has voted to leave the European Union, a historic decisio that will reshape the nation’s place in the world and hit the political establishments throughout the West as Prime Minister David Cameron is under immense pressure to resign.
It was a remarkable victory for the country’s anti-European forces, which not long ago were considered to have little chance of prevailing.
The Leave campaign held a 52 percent to 48 percent lead. The BBC called the race for the Leave campaign shortly before 4:45 a.m., with 13.1 million votes having been counted in favor of leaving and 12.2 million in favor of remaining.
As pressure builds up against Cameron to resign but to bring calm as more than 80 Eurosceptic Tory MPs – including every Cabinet minister who voted Leave – signed a letter addressed to Cameron, urging him to remain as Prime Minister regardless of the referendum result. Economists had predicted that a vote to leave the bloc could do substantial damage to the British economy.
The value of the British pound plummeted as financial markets absorbed the news.
Despite opinion polls ahead of the referendum on Thursday that showed either side in a position to win, the outcome nonetheless stunned much of Britain, Europe and the trans-Atlantic alliance, highlighting the power of anti-elite, populist and nationalist sentiment at a time of economic and cultural dislocation.
Manfred Weber, a senior German conservative MEP and a close ally of Angela Merkel, has warned Britain will receive “no special treatment” and must leave the EU within two years.
He writes in four tweets: “We respect and regret the decision of the British voters. It causes major damage to both sides.