On June 23, residents of the United Kingdom went to the polls in large numbers to decide whether they should stay a part of the European Union. The EU was created after World War II to help foster economic co-operation in the hope that this would help prevent war between its members. UK residents decided to leave the EU, with 51.9% voting to leave and 48.1% to remain. More than 30 million people voted in the Thursday election, making it the highest UK-wide voter turnout since 1992.
The EU has allowed goods and people to move around the 28 affiliated countries as if the member states were one country. The EU developed the euro, which 19 of the member countries currently use.
In order for the departure to go into full effect, the British government must invoke an agreement called Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The prime minster is the one to decide when to invoke it, and then the UK can begin the formal legal process of withdrawing from the EU. The process can take up to two years, although the EU has said that it will begin the process immediately.
In the wake of this news, David Cameron has resigned as prime minister. Cameron stated that Britain required “fresh leadership” to negotiate the country’s exit from the EU.
“I do not think it would be right for me to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination,” he said in a statement. Cameron plans to makes his exit before October.
“I believe we’ve made great steps, with more people in work than ever before in our history, with reforms to welfare and education, increasing people’s life chances, building a bigger and stronger society, keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world and enabling those who love each other to get married whatever their sexuality, but above all restoring Britain’s economic strength.”