Greece Votes 'No,' Plunges Into Uncharted Territory

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says the vote will give them a better deal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2015 5:30 PM CDT
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives to meet Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos after the results of the referendum at the Presidential Palace in Athens, early Monday, July 6, 2015.   (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
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(Newser) – Greece lurched into uncharted territory and an uncertain future in Europe's common currency today after voters overwhelmingly rejected demands by international creditors for more austerity measures in exchange for a bailout of its bankrupt economy. Results showed 61% voted "no," compared with 38% for "yes," with 93% of the vote counted. The referendum—Greece's first in more than four decades—came amid severe restrictions on financial transactions in the country, imposed last week to stem a bank run that accelerated after the vote was called. Thousands of jubilant government supporters celebrated in Syntagma Square in front of Parliament, waving Greek flags and chanting "No, no, no!"

It was a decisive victory for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who had gambled the future of his 5-month-old leftist government—and his country—in the referendum he called last weekend, saying a "no" vote would strengthen his hand to negotiate a better deal for his country. His government has said it believes it would be possible to conclude a deal with creditors within 48 hours. But European officials and most of Greece's opposition parties painted the referendum as one of whether country kept using the euro currency—even though that was not the convoluted question asked on the ballot. Opinion polls Friday showed that 74% or more want their country to remain in the euro. How European officials react to the referendum result will be critical for the country, and a eurozone summit was called for Tuesday evening to discuss the situation.

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