British Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned from his post, following his country’s referendum to leave the European Union. Britain is the first country to withdraw from the 28-member Union. This step marks an increase into the already existing uncertainty in UK’s political leadership.
With the country’s ‘Leave’ campaign securing 52% votes, Cameron addressed the nation in an emotional speech outside 10 Downing Street. He was in power since 2010 and had promised the conservative factions of his party in 2013 that he would hold such a referendum if he won the re-elections last year. This step has had a drastic impact on the global market with the FTSE 250 index plunging a whopping 11.7 points. The index of so-called mid-cap companies had dropped an astonishing 2,017 points to 15,309 in the first few minutes of trading.
After spending months convincing the citizens of Britain to remain in the EU and warning them about the drastic economical repercussions of Brexit, Cameron’s resignation has been followed by the plummeting of the British pound to a 31-year low. Cameron had previously led the Conservative Party to a hearty electoral victory during last year’s election, unseating political opponents in what The Guardian called “the biggest surprise in a general election since 1945.”
Internationally, Britain’s departure has an immense economical impact. The result has left oil prices 6% lower on Friday. US crude is down $2.77 at $47.34 a barrel and Brent $2.75 lower at $48.16 a barrel. Separately, Japan’s Nikkei experienced its biggest fall since March 2011, down over 8% or 1,300 points. In fact, trading was briefly halted for 10 minutes. In India, domestic markets are in the red; Sensex is down 607 points at 26,394 and Nifty is 185 points lower at 8,084. The Indian Rupee is trading at 67.88 against the US Dollar. The government and the Reserve Bank of India affirmed that action is being taken to balance Indian equities.
Netherlands’ far-right leader Geert Wilders has called for a Dutch referendum, saying “We want be in charge of our own country, our own money, our own borders, and our own immigration policy.” France’s leftist MEP Jean-Luc Mélenchon has called for a similar referendum, saying, “This is the end of a world that begins with this Brexit and teaches a lesson to the whole of Europe – either we change it or we leave it. This is the time for a Plan B.” He described the EU as “dead, killed by privileges for the cast of Eurocrats, by permanent lies, by the politics of flexibility.”