Greece seems to have decisively rejected the bailout terms put forward by its international creditors.
The Greek people have voted an overwhelming ‘No’, supporting the position of leftist premier Alexis Tsipras.
With over 90 percent of the ballots counted, ‘No’ was ahead with around 61 percent of the votes, compared to approximately 39 percent for the ‘Yes’ vote.
- Leader of New Democracy and former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has resigned in the wake of the referendum result.
- President of the European Council Donald Tusk announced via Twitter that he has called a euro zone summit on Greece for Tuesday evening.
- Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says “Today’s ‘No’ is a no to a euro zone which acts as a cage for its people. It is a ‘Yes’ to a euro zone being a land of prosperity to its people.”
- Senior German conservative Michael Fuchs says Tsipras has caused a “disaster”.
Waving Greek flags, jubilant ‘No’ supporters flocked to Syntagma Square in central Athens, chanting anti-austerity slogans.
Earlier, Greek private TV stations estimated victory for the ‘No’ camp in Sunday’s referendum, although an opinion poll in the run-up to the vote put the ‘Yes’ camp marginally ahead.
No exit polls were released but three opinion polls by GPO, Metron Analysis and MRB all showed the ‘No’ camp ahead by a margin of three points.
A poll by Marc estimated 49.5 to 54.5 percent of Greeks voted ‘No’ compared to 45.5 to 50.5 percent voting ‘Yes’, based on surveys conducted through the week.
It seems that voters have defied warnings from across Europe that rejection of the creditors’ terms would set their country on a path out of the euro.
Nikos Filis, parliamentary spokesman for the ruling Syriza party said the projected results would allow the government to move ahead quickly to reach a deal with creditors.
“I think this is guidance for the government,” he said after the polls came out.
But Athens’ partners have warned over the past week that a ‘No’ vote would mean cutting bridges with Europe and driving Greece’s crippled financial system into outright bankruptcy, dramatically worsening the country’s 5-year-long depression.
The result also delivers a hammer blow to the European Union’s grand single currency project. Intended to be permanent and unbreakable when it was created 15 years ago, the euro zone could now be on the point of losing its first member with the risk of further unraveling to come.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has entered into talks about the referendum outcome with Francois Hollande. The French President has already spoken on the telephone to Alexis Tsipras, according to a Greek government official.
Tsipras is holding telephone meetings with several European leaders, among them Italy’s premier Matteo Renzi, according to Greek state TV.
But German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel reacted on Sunday evening, saying that it was difficult to envisage fresh negotiations with Greece, following the ‘No’ vote.
The European Commission issued an official statement on the result.
Greek banks, which have been closed all week and rationing withdrawals from cash machines, are expected to run out of money within days unless the European Central Bank provides an emergency lifeline.
However central bankers warned before the vote that a ‘No’ would make it almost impossible for the ECB to turn on the taps, leaving the Greek financial system without funds and facing imminent collapse.