British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he is stepping down just hours after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.
Cameron is widely considered responsible for allowing the referendum to take place, having bowed to pressure from politicians in his own party and other parties further to the right. Speaking to a crowd of reporters on Friday morning, Cameron said that he believes the country needs “fresh leadership.”
This was a fight of Cameron's choosing, on turf & a date he picked. There was no need to have a referendum. That's why he's quit— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) June 24, 2016
The next prime minister, who Cameron says should be elected by October, will be the person who will actually initiate and negotiate the process by which the U.K. would formally leave the EU.
Cameron: "A negotiation with the EU will need to begin under a new PM & I think this new PM takes the decision when to trigger article 50."— BuzzFeed UK Politics (@BuzzFeedUKPol) June 24, 2016
Although Thursday’s referendum was not technically legally binding, the political mandate of the popular vote (in a 70 percent turnout election) is likely too much for Parliament to resist.
Across the world, the damage of the referendum is being felt. The U.S. markets are expected to open around 700 below Thursday’s close, and the value of the pound has sunk to its lowest levels since 1985.
Leaders in Northern Ireland and Scotland, which both overwhelmingly voted for the U.K. to remain in the EU, now say they want independence referendums so that they may reenter the EU.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.