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Griechenland Referendum
Image: Reuters/J. Barbancho

Greece's future up in the air?

July 5, 2015

Early results say the Greeks have voted against the conditions of any further bailout, raising possible issues with regard to Athens' future in the euro. A special eurozone summit on Greece has been called for Tuesday.


The Athens administration claimed "a clear mandate" for less stringent bailout conditions after the electorate appeared to have clearly voted "No" in Sunday's key referendum, concerning demands made by European institutions in exchange for further financial help for essentially bankrupt Greece.

It remains to be seen, however, how those institutions - or eurozone leaders - will digest the result, and what's more, whether it will trigger the "Grexit," or Greece's exit from the eurozone, as has been supposed.

On Monday, France's President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are set to meet in Paris to discuss the result of the referendum, according to a statement from the French presidency.

Shortly after the pair called for a special eurozone summit on Greece, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, tweeted that one would be held on Tuesday evening.

According to official exit polls issued by the interior ministry in Athens, the Greek people were 60/40 against the proposed austerity measures. Turnout, according to the ministry, was over 50 percent.

Griechenland Referendum
Late on Sunday, around half the votes were counted, suggesting 'No' was far aheadImage: Reuters/S. Rapanis

"With this result, the prime minister has a clear mandate from the Greek people," government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said on television right after the results were released.

The reaction in Germany was decidedly less enthusiastic. Michael Fuchs, one of Merkel's senior conservatives on the federal level, said a "disaster happened" on Sunday.

"We regret the results of this vote terribly," Fuchs told Reuters.

Running low on money, food, medicine

According to AFP, the eurozone isn't planning to convene in any official way on Monday. Asked whether the monetary union's finance ministers would meet, an unnamed official said:

"No way! [The ministers] wouldn't know what to discuss."

The European Commission had no immediate comment on the exit polls.

Greek government spokesman Sakellaridis saidthe Bank of Greece was immediately asking the European Central Bank to inject emergency euro cash for Greece's depleted banks, which have been shuttered all week.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras implemented capital controls after his announcement last weekend that bailout talks had been suspended to hold the referendum. Bank customers were limited to daily withdrawals of 60 euros ($67).

Griechenland Referendum
Greek bank customers were limited to 60 euros per day to prevent a run on the banksImage: Reuters/M. Djurica

Acute fears of a Grexit have also caused citizens to stock up on non-perishable food, clearing out supermarket shelves. Medicine, too, is in dangerously low supply.

Greece was officially declared in default on Friday by the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which holds some 145 billion euros of Greek loans, after Athens failed to make an IMF repayment.

Tsipras is demanding that the ECB, IMF and European Commission absolve Greece of 30 percent of the 240 billion euros Athens has received over the past five years. The Prime Minister also wants a 20-year grace period to repay the other 70 percent.

Greece's eurozone counterparts, as well as the institutions that approved and stipulated the bailout, have rejected those demands.

glb/jr (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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