Greece defies creditors with 'No' vote

'We have proved democracy cannot be blackmailed', says PM Tsipras, as voters reject bailout terms promising more austerity

Greece defies creditors with 'No' vote

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Greece has voted in a referendum to decisively reject further austerity measures proposed by its creditors.

With 90 percent of the votes counted in Sunday's referendum, more than 61 percent of the voters backed the government stance, as the turnout hovered around 60 percent.

As the outcome looked certain, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: “We have proved democracy cannot be blackmailed."

He said the mandate the referendum has given him was not one of "rupture with Europe", while conceding that there were "no easy solutions" to Athens' debt crisis.

French President Francois Hollande phoned Tsipras following the results, and will hold a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday evening in Paris.

President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz confirmed an EU summit on Tuesday.

"Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras believes he is in a better position for the negotiations, but I think he is mistaken," Schulz said Sunday. "I think the daily lives of Greeks will worsen day by day."

Greek leader of the main opposition New Democracy party and former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has resigned from the party's leadership in the wake of the results.

The referendum asked Greek citizens to vote “Yes” or “No” on proposals to raise taxes and cut spending from Greece’s creditors -- the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, also dubbed the troika.

The past week saw the country’s bailout program expire on Tuesday when it defaulted on a 1.5 billion euro ($1.7 billion) repayment as banks closed their doors and put limits on cash withdrawals.

Prime Minister Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis have been at the fore of calls for a “No” vote, claiming it will give the government greater power in its negotiations with creditors.

European politicians involved in the talks have claimed the opposite, saying that rejecting the proposals risks a Greece exit from the euro.

The troika is demanding further pension cuts and tax increases for business and farmers in return for a 7.2 billion euro bailout.

Greece urgently needs 16.3 billion euros to pay public servants and keep the country running.

Meanwhile, German Vice Chancellor and Social Democrat Party leader Sigmar Gabriel has voiced doubt about a new aid program for Greece following the outcome of the referendum.

“Negotiations on a program worth billions is hardly conceivable after the rejection of the rules of the Eurozone, as manifested in a majority no vote at the referendum,” Gabriel told daily Tagesspiegel on Sunday.

He sharply criticized Greek Prime Minister Tsipras for his campaign for the rejection of the bailout conditions.

Gabriel argued that the outcome of the referendum will not strengthen the hand of Greece as claimed by Tsipras, but will lead Greek people to a path of hopelessness.

“Tsipras has torn down last bridges through which Europe and Greece could move towards a compromise,” he said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Temmuz 2015, 09:09