Greek people decisively rejected the terms of an international bailout, the first results from a controversial debt referendum have shown as two-thirds of ballots were counted.
Figures published by the interior ministry showed 61% of those whose ballots had been counted voting “No”, against 39% voting “Yes”.
Greece’s governing Syriza party campaigned for a “No”, saying the bailout terms were humiliating.
The “Yes” campaign warned this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone.
Some European officials had also said that a “No” would be seen as an outright rejection of talks with creditors.
However, Greek government officials have insisted that a “No” vote would strengthen their hand and that they could rapidly strike a deal for fresh funding in resumed negotiations.
Greek banks will reopen by July 7, they say.
Reacting to the result, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called it “a big yes to a democratic Europe”.
Yanis Varoufakis said Greece would be “positive” in negotiations with its creditors.
Euclid Tsakalotos, Greece’s deputy foreign minister, told Star TV that two developments would allow Greece to pursue “a solution that is financially viable”.
“Firstly, the government now has a new popular mandate and the second is the latest [International Monetary Fund] report which says that the Greek debt is unsustainable.”
Greece had been locked in negotiations with its creditors for months when the Greek government unexpectedly called a referendum on the terms it was being offered.
Banks have been shut and capital controls in place since June 29, after the European Central Bank declined to give Greece more emergency funding.
Withdrawals at cash machines have been limited to €60 per day.
State Minister Nikos Pappas, a close ally of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, said it was “absolutely necessary” to restore liquidity to the banks now the referendum was over.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni tweeted: “Now it is right to start trying for an agreement again. But there is no escape from the Greek labyrinth with a Europe that’s weak and isn’t growing.”
Belgium’s finance minister said the door remained open to restart talks with Greece “literally, within hours”.
Eurozone finance ministers could again discuss measures “that can put the Greek economy back on track and give the Greeks a perspective for the future,” he told the VRT network.
President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are scheduled to meet in Paris on July 6 to discuss the situation, the French president’s office said.
Greece’s latest bailout expired on June 30 and Greece missed a €1.6 billion payment to the IMF.
The European Commission – one of the “troika” of creditors along with the IMF and the European Central Bank – wanted Athens to raise taxes and slash welfare spending to meet its debt obligations.
Greece’s Syriza-led government, which was elected in January on an anti-austerity platform, said it had been presented with an “ultimatum”.
The Greek government’s opponents and some Greek voters had complained that the question on the ballot paper was unclear. EU officials said it applied to the terms of an offer that was no longer on the table.
The projected turnout in Sunday’s referendum was about 60%.
Greeks are voting in a controversial referendum on whether to accept the terms of an international bailout.
Polling stations opened at 07:00 local time, with the first results expected in the evening.
The government has urged a “No” vote, but opponents warn this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone.
Greeks appear evenly divided over the issue, according to opinion polls. Turnout is expected to be high, after a frenetic week of campaigning.
Leaders in the governing radical-left Syriza party have criticized the bailout terms as humiliating. They say rejecting the terms could give them more leverage in talks over Greece’s massive debt.
“No one can ignore the determination of a people taking its destiny in its own hands,” PM Alexis Tsipras said, after casting his ballot on July 5.
However, international creditors have warned that a “No” vote could choke off vital funding for Greek banks and lead to “Grexit – a chaotic departure from the common European currency. The “Yes” campaign has framed the vote as a referendum on Greek membership of the eurozone.
Supporters of both sides held rallies in Athens on July 3. Banks stayed shut because of capital controls imposed after the expiry of the current bailout program.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told local media on Saturday that the EU had “no legal grounds” to throw Greece out of the euro.
On the eve of the referendum, Yanis Varoufakis accused Athens’ creditors of trying to sow fear around the vote. He told Spain’s El Mundo newspaper: “Why did they force us to close the banks? To instil fear in people. And spreading fear is called terrorism.”
Yanis Varoufakis said that the banks in Greece would reopen on July 7 whatever the outcome and that PM Alexis Tsipras would still reach an agreement with creditors if the result was “No” in the referendum.
Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, one of Greece’s harshest critics, suggested that if Greece were to leave the eurozone, it might only be temporary.
“Whether with the euro or temporarily without it: only the Greeks can answer this question,” he told the German newspaper Bild.
“And it is clear that we will not leave the people in the lurch.”
The referendum question is: “Must the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the Eurogroup of 25 June, 2015, and comprised of two parts which make up their joint proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled <<Reforms for the completion of the current program and beyond>> and the second <<Preliminary debt sustainability analysis>>.”
Voters must check one of two boxes – “not approved/no” or, below it, “approved/yes”.
The question which will be put to Greek voters on July 5 will not be as simple as whether they want to stay in the euro or not.
Instead it asks Greeks to approve or reject the specific terms laid out by Greece’s creditors.
“Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled <<Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond>> and the second <<Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis>>.
The two appendix documents – “Reforms for the completion of the current program and beyond” and “Preliminary debt sustainability analysis” – don’t sound much more easily digestible than the ballot.
There is still a question over when and how voters will be presented with those documents, and whether world-class economists will be on hand at polling stations to explain them.
As well as being a little bit dense, the Greek ballot also controversially puts the “No” option – favored by the Greek government – above the “Yes” option, leading some to accuse it of bias.
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged population to reject international creditors’ demands in a snap referendum on the country’s debt crisis due on July 5.
Alexis Tsipras said a clear vote against austerity would help Greece negotiate a better settlement to the crisis.
Otherwise, the prime minister warned, he would not stay in office to oversee more cuts.
Greece’s bailout expires on June 30, the same day it faces a deadline to repay a €1.6 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The loan is to be repaid by 18:00 Washington time (22:00 GMT).
EU leaders have warned that a rejection of the creditors’ proposals on July 5 would mean Greece leaving the eurozone – though Alexis Tsipras says he does not want this to happen.
Talks between Greece and its creditors broke down last week, leading to Greek banks having to shut this week. The uncertainty also caused stock markets to fall sharply on June 29.
Asian markets rebounded on June 30, with stock markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul all rising compared with June 29.
Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Greek parliament in Athens on Monday evening in a show of support for the government’s proposals. A rival protest organized by those calling for a “Yes” vote is due later on Tuesday, June 30.
Speaking live on state TV on Monday evening, PM Alexis Tsipras appealed to Greeks to reject the creditors’ proposals, saying this would give Greece “more powerful weapons” to take to the negotiating table.
“We ask you to reject it with all the might of your soul, with the greatest margin possible,” he said.
Alexis Tsipras told viewers he did not believe the creditors wanted Greece out of the eurozone “because the cost is immense”.
He also hinted strongly that he would resign if the result of the referendum was a “Yes” vote.
“If the Greek people want to proceed with austerity plans in perpetuity, which will leave us unable to lift our head… we will respect it, but we will not be the ones to carry it out,” Alexis Tsipras said.
The Greek government has already been forced to order all banks to be closed until July 6 after the European Central Bank (ECB) decided not to extend its emergency funding.
The ECB is believed to have disbursed virtually all of its ceiling for funds, amounting to €89 billion.
Long queues of people were seen snaking outside ATMs on June 29, with withdrawals capped at just €60 a day.
Elderly people, many without bank cards, were seen waiting outside closed bank branches in the hope of getting access to funds.
The Greek lawmakers have backed plans for a referendum on international creditors’ terms for a new bailout.
The July 5 referendum was called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who opposes further budget cuts. He urged voters to deliver a “resounding <<No>>” to the package.
Eurozone partners have criticized Greece’s referendum announcement, and rejected its request to extend the bailout program beyond June 30.
Greece could default on a €1.6 billion repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due on that day.
There are fears the country may leave the euro and that its economy may collapse without new bailout funds.
Alexis Tsipras’ motion on a referendum easily won backing in the 300-member strong parliament, with at least 179 lawmakers voting in favor of it in the early hours of Sunday, June 28.
Speaking just before the vote, Alexis Tsipras described the creditors’ proposal as “an insulting ultimatum” and said an emphatic “No” vote on July 5 would strengthen Greece’s negotiating position.
His government had earlier rejected the creditors’ offer of a five-month extension to Greece’s bailout program in exchange for reforms.
On June 28, eurozone finance ministers rejected the Greek proposal for the bailout extension beyond Tuesday’s deadline. A Eurogroup statement said Greece had broken off negotiations over a new bailout deal “unilaterally”.
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said it would now be up to the European Central Bank (ECB) to decide whether to continue providing emergency liquidity funding to the Greek banking system.
Meanwhile, queues have formed in Greece outside banks in the past few days amid concerns that the central bank might start restricting withdrawals.
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras has announced a referendum on a controversial bailout deal with foreign creditors for July 5.
In a TV address, Alexis Tsipras described the plan as “humiliation” and condemned “unbearable” austerity measures demanded by creditors.
The Greek government earlier rejected the proposals, aimed at avoiding Greece defaulting on its debt.
Greece has to make a €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) IMF debt repayment on June 30.
Alexis Tsipras said: “These proposals, which clearly violate the European rules and the basic rights to work, equality and dignity show that the purpose of some of the partners and institutions was not a viable agreement for all parties, but possibly the humiliation of an entire people.”
“The people must decide free of any blackmail,” he added.
Greece has refused to accept cuts to pension payments or public sector wages while the IMF is pushing for deeper spending cuts, not just more tax rises.
A key point of friction is a special benefit paid to some low-income pensioners, which creditors want scrapped.
Creditors also want a wider VAT base; Greece says it will not allow extra VAT on medicines or electricity bills, and has also resisted calls for VAT hikes on hotels and restaurants.
Athens wants a concrete commitment to debt relief, something its creditors are not offering.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.