Defiant Greeks have overwhelmingly rejected international bailout terms by voting “NO” in Sunday’s referendum, putting their faith in their left-wing government despite warnings the result could lead to an exit from the euro zone.
I am fully aware that the mandate here is not a mandate to break with Europe,
The strong victory by the No campaign which is set to end up with over 60 percent has taken many by surprise after pollsters had forecast a result too close to call.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who had called for a no vote immediately addressed the nation:
“Today, considering last week’s very difficult circumstances, you made a very brave choice. However I am fully aware that the mandate here is not a mandate to break with Europe, but a mandate to strengthen our negotiation position to seek a viable solution.”
The Greek premier went on to say:
“Greece will come to the table of negotiations, our first priority is to reinstate the banking system as soon as possible to achieve financial stability. I’m certain that ECB understands completely not only the general financial situation but also the humanitarian dimension the crisis has in our country.”
As the result became clear, former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who had campaigned for a “Yes” vote in the referendum and who is strongly identified with implementing years of austerity measures, resigned as leader of the centre-right New Democracy party.