Greece votes clear ‘no’ to more austerity

WITH more than half the votes counted, analysts were calling the result of the Greek referendum a clear no to the programme of austerity put on the table by the Europe and Greece’s international creditors.
As the votes were tallied on Sunday night (July 5), hundreds of thousands of supporters of the no campaign, under their ‘oxi’ banners, poured into Syntagma square where the Greek parliament and finance ministry are situated. Their joy was clear, although what follows the no vote, estimated to be at least 60 per cent, is far from obvious.
With Greek banks having been closed for a week, the country’s economy is on edge of complete bankruptcy. The European Central Bank (ECB) and EU finance ministers face the choice of providing emergency financing while negotiations are resumed, or to cut the country off, almost certainly prompting what’s been described as a “humanitarian disaster” by some.
Although a no vote was portrayed by European leaders as a vote to leave the euro, the Greek exit is by no means set in stone. Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis promised that the left-wing Greek government would seek to find common ground with the rest of Europe. He also said the vote was a “brave” stand which would increase protection for people across the continent.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has a clear mandate from his people to continue to refuse the further austerity demanded by the country’s creditors. Ordinary Greeks have quite simply had enough, and are prepared to risk whatever new turn the Greek crisis takes now, in the belief that it cannot be worse than what they have already experienced.

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