Emphatic ‘no’ vote in Greek referendum triggers emergency eurozone summit

Special to WorldTribune.com

Excerpted from a report by  Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

European Council President Donald Tusk called a eurozone summit for July 7 to discuss the Greek debt crisis after Greeks voted overwhelmingly to reject the terms of a bailout.

Greek voters rejected international creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans in a historic referendum on July 5.

In the final results, 61.3 percent votes “No” and 38. 7 percent voted “Yes.” The reported turnout was 62.5 percent.

City Skylines And General Views Ahead Of ElectionsThe referendum was called by left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who urged voters to vote against “fear” and “terrorism” by rejecting the prescription of European leaders after six years of recession.

Tsipras said late on July 5 that Greeks had voted for a “Europe of solidarity and democracy.” “As of tomorrow, Greece will go back to the negotiating table and our primary priority is to reinstate the financial stability of the country,” he said in a televised address.

Tsipras and his team insist a “No” vote will strengthen his hand to negotiate a third bailout with European leaders despite their warnings to the contrary.

Eurozone policymakers have warned that a “No” vote would make it difficult for the European Central Bank (ECB) to offer Greek lenders the emergency financial assistance they rely on.

A senior German conservative lawmaker was quoted by Reuters as saying on July 5 that Tsipras had caused a “disaster and must see how to pick up the pieces.”

“There is no chance that a solution will be achieved within 48 hours,” said Michael Fuchs, who has long had reservations about bailouts for Greece.

A German deputy chancellor was quoted as saying new bailout negotiations are “difficult to imagine” after a “No” vote.

According to the head of the Greek Banks’ Association, cash is only going to last until July 6. Greek banks are expected to reopen on July 7 but it’s almost impossible to have banks open without a large infusion of cash. Greek media have reported that the Bank of Greece will ask the ECB for $6.6 billion in emergency assistance.

Meanwhile, some Greek officials point out that a “No” vote win should not be regarded as an intention by the government to leave the euro.

But for millions of Greeks it’s an angry message to creditors that Greece can longer accept repeated rounds of austerity that, in five years, had left one in four without a job.

Tsipras has denounced the price paid for aid as “blackmail” and a national “humiliation”. Greece’s conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras, who campaigned for “Yes” vote, announced his resignation in the evening July 5, saying: “I understand that our great movement needs a new start.”

The outcome of Greece’s referendum was discussed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in a telephone call in the evening July 5, a German government spokesman said.

“Both were in agreement that the vote by the Greek people be respected. The chancellor and the president are in favor of calling for a summit of eurozone heads of state and government heads on July 7,” the spokesman said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will hold a conference call with Tusk, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on the Greek situation on the morning of July 6, the commission said in a statement.

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