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Greece Referendum: Voters reject bailout offer

Jul 6, 11:33 AM //

Greece-financial-crisisPeople in Greece resoundingly rejected creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted the vote would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal. The opposition accused Tsipras of jeopardising the country’s membership in the 19-nation club that uses the euro and said a “yes” vote was about keeping the common currency. With 87 per cent of the votes counted, the “no” side had more than 60 per cent.

In an address to the nation, Mr Tsipras said that they should celebrate the victory of democracy. He had gambled the future of his 5-month-old left-wing government on the vote. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said last night that creditors planned from the start to shut down banks to humiliate Greeks and force them to make a statement of contrition for showing that debt and loans are unsustainable. On last night’s result, he said that “‘no’ is a big ‘yes’ to democratic Europe. He said, it’s a no to the vision of European infinite cage for its people. He further said, it is a loud yes to the vision of the Eurozone as a common area of prosperity and social justice.

Thousands of government supporters gathered in central Athens in celebration, waving Greek flags and chanting “No, No, No.” Governing left-wing Syriza party Euro deputy Dimitris Papadimoulis said that Greek people are proving they want to remain in Europe as equal members and not as a debt colony. The referendum was Greece’s first in 41 years. Tsipras’ high-stakes brinkmanship with lenders from the euro zone countries and the International Monetary Fund resulted in Greece defaulting on its debts last week and shutting down its banks to avoid their collapse. He called the referendum on June 27th, giving both sides just a week to campaign.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Germany’s government said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are unanimous in considering that the outcomes of the Greek referendum should be respected. The announcement comes after Greek voters took part in a referendum yesterday to determine whether Athens should accept the lenders-proposed bailout plan that envisages serious spending cuts and tax increases.

Head of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi and President of the European Council Donald Tusk will hold today a conference call to discuss the results of the referendum. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised address to the nation that Greece’s government would resume negotiations with its international creditors, including on debt issue, today.

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