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"We gave an example of democracy" says Greek Prime Minister

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By Seamus Kearney
"We gave an example of democracy" says Greek Prime Minister

It was a party that went on well into the night – the “No” camp in Greece’s referendum on new bailout conditions took to the streets after the size of their victory became apparent.

What is needed now is the forging of our national unity, to unanimously shape a strong national front, to restore normalcy in the economy

Many opinion polls had been predicting a close vote, but when all the ballot papers had been counted there was no doubt where the majority stood.

A total of 61.3 percent rejected the conditions demanded by Greece’s creditors. 38.7 said “Yes”.

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met the country’s president and called for more negotiations.

“We gave an example of democracy,” he said. “What is needed now is the forging of our national unity, to unanimously shape a strong national front, to restore normalcy in the economy. We also need to immediately find a solution to the problems in the negotiations with our partners.”

He added: “We also need to send the message that our proposals are realistic and reasonable. We are in a position to promote immediately a meaningful negotiation to find a reliable solution and an honorable compromise for the good of Europe.

“Because we have to realise that Europe works through compromise and not through division.”

Amid resignations among the country’s opposition, the future of Greece’s eurozone membership has been thrown further into doubt, and questions remain about where much needed reserves of cash will come from.

The Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos told Tsipras: “I agree. The Greek, people by exercising their democratic right, have given their verdict. A verdict that can be interpreted only within the terms of the referendum and no other interpretations can be given in Greece or outside Greece.

“It means that the Greek people are determined to protect the country’s course in Europe and in the Eurozone. And they authorise the government with today’s vote to reach an agreement which will send the message that the Greek people respect their obligations, according to the European institutional acquis and the principles of the European economy.

“This is an agreement which will at the same time secure the perspective of the Greek economy, as the European values and principles require. This message is clear to all. And I think that your request to convene all political leaders will help significantly in our efforts. It is of great importance that the message to be sent to our partners by the majority of Greek political parties is common.

“Greece is and will remain an integral part of the European Union. Greeks have proved today with their vote their will to remain in Europe and the eurozone respecting all our obligations. As President of the Hellenic Republic I want to sent a message which is at the same time an appeal to our European partners.

“It is clear that since Greece respects its obligations, every other decision for a Europe without Greece, would lead to a Europe different than the one envisioned by its founders. Hence, we say to them that we have the will and this will is firm and non-negotiable”.