In a stunning development, Britain has voted to exit the European Union, a decision that has forced the prime minister to resign, sent stock markets into turmoil and pushed the British pound down to a 31-year low.
The “Brexit” vote was 52 percent to 48 percent, an outcome resulting in the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, who advocated against leaving the EU.
Cameron said he will leave office by October.
“I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months,” he said. “But I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.”
The EU will be left with 27 member countries following Britain’s departure.
U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, a “Leave” campaign supporter, said the Brexit decision is “a victory for ordinary people, against the big banks, big business and big politics.”
“We have our country back,” he tweeted.
President Barack Obama, who supported Britain staying in the EU, issued a statement on the Brexit vote:
The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.
So too is our relationship with the European Union, which has done so much to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values and ideals across the continent and beyond.
The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI,1) also said the Brexit decision will not affect the U.S.-U.K. relationship.
“I respect the decision made by the people of the United Kingdom,” he said in a statement. “The UK is an indispensable ally of the United States, and that special relationship is unaffected by this vote.”