Italians are voting today on a referendum to accept or to deny constitutional changes offered up by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Austrians are deciding between left and right wing candidates for the ceremonial position of president.
The decisions made in both countries could have broad ramifications on the future of Europe that could witness a significant rise in right wing sentiments, parliamentarians and governments.
Italy's Renzi has bet his office as prime minister on achieving a "yes" vote on the referendum for constructional changes aimed to undermine the country's bicameral legislature - by eliminating, or by severely weakening the senate. Renzi hopes that constitutional changes would allow for more effective governance as Italy faces a possible financial and banking crisis. He said he would resign if he fails to get a yes vote and this could lead to major inroads by right wing candidates in Italy.
Last May, in Austria, left wing presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, narrowly won the presidential election over right wing candidate, Norbert Hofer, but the decision was thrown out by the Austrian court because of irregularities. So today, both candidates are running in another close election.
As reported by the BBC-News earlier today, should Hofer win, he would become the European Union's(EU) first far-right head of state. His possible victory could embolden far-right parties all over Europe with France, Germany and the Netherlands all facing elections next year.