Greece has voted, saying "oxi" or "no" to international creditors' terms for continued financial assistance. Alexis Tsipras's Syriza government got its wish, comfortably. Relive the decisive moments as they happened.
Greeks have supported the Syriza government of Prime Minister Tsipras in a high stakes referendum on the country's debt difficulties. The result was a clear no to the terms offered from Brussels, but what the result will mean is a rather more open question. Here, you can read through the vote-counting process as it happened.
All times given in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC)
20:42 More than 85 percent of the votes are now in, and the numbers aren't budging. Just over 61 percent for "no" and just under 39 percent for yes. On that note, we'll wrap up our live coverage of election evening, safe in the knowledge that more Greek news can't be far around the corner. If you're still hankering for more, why not start here. The headline really says much of what you need to know: Greek future up in the air after referendum.
20:35 Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses the country after receiving their support to seek a different deal in Brussels: "I am fully conscious that the mandate you have given me is not a mandate against Europe, but a mandate for finding a sustainable solution with Europe which will take us out of this vicious circle." As of tomorrow, Tsipras says, his government will look to return to the negotiating table.
20:28 Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande have already discussed Sunday's results by phone, according to a government spokesman in Berlin. They agreed that the vote should be respected, and both voiced their support for a special euorozone summit on Tuesday. Were that to take place, it would be even more hastily organized than the referendum itself.
20:19 From resigning center-right party leader Samaras: "I understand that our great movement needs a new start. From today I am stepping down the leadership," the New Democracy former prime minister said.
20:10 Greece's former prime minister, the conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras, has stepped down. He was a leading advocate of the "nai" campaign to vote yes.
20:08 According to the AFP news agency, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are calling a special eurozone summit on Greece on Tuesday. Merkel and Hollande's offices have already confirmed that the chancellor will visit Paris on Monday evening.
19:35 Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis calls the "no" vote "a big yes" to a democratic Europe. He said that voters had simply said "no more" to continued austerity. Describing the vote as brave, Varoufakis said the government would seek common ground with their European partners.
19.30 Wondering about the Social Democratic response in Germany? Might that be softer? Seemingly not...
Party chair Sigmar Gabriel features in the Monday edition of the "Tagesspiegel" newspaper, with advanced quotes released. "Tsipras and his government are leading the Greek people on a path of bitter sacrifice and hopelessness," he told the paper. "With the rejection of the eurozone's rules of the game, which has been expressed in this majority 'no' vote, negotiations on further multibillion euro programs are scarcely conceivable."
19:21 Reuters has contacted Michael Fuchs, a senior German conservative who represents Koblenz, who called the apparent result a "disaster."
"I very much regret the result," Fuchs told Reuters by phone. "Tsipras has 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."
19:17 French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, not what you'd normally consider a natural bedfellow to the leftist Syriza leadership, has saluted Sunday's referendum as a victory against "the oligarchy of the European Union." Le Pen, a virulent euroskeptic seeking to shed her party's overtly racist and anti-Semitic image, called for the vote to be the launching pad for a complete overhaul in the EU: "European countries should take advantage of this event to gather around the negotiating table, take stock of the failure of the euro and austerity, and organize the dissolution of the single currency system, which is needed to get back to real growth, employment and debt reduction."
And, speaking of Syriza's campaign forging unlikely alliances, Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, has congratulated Greeks for "calling the EU's bluff."
19:01 The euro's taken a post-referendum slide, falling below the $1.10 mark. The currency dipped its toes into these murky depths as far back as February, after Syriza's election win, but one year ago, a euro was worth more than $1.30.
18:49 Time for a numbers recap. Half the votes are in, according to Greece's official results page, and the margin's holding firm: 61 percent "oxi" and 39 percent "nai." Turnout's projected to be close to 60 percent. We've already reached territory where a reversal of these partial results seems exceedingly improbable.
18:39 Belgium's Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt has acknowledged that the likely "no" vote from Greece will complicate matters in follow-up negotiations in Brussels. However, he also stressed that talks with Syriza's coalition government could resume "literally, within hours."
18:35 News out of the conservative camp here in Germany: the Bavarian CSU's Hans Michelbach - who represents Chancellor Merkel's CDU/CSU alliance in the parliament's finance committee - has asked whether remaining in the euro is Greece's best option. "One has to ask the question now whether Greece might be better off outside the eurozone," Michelbach told the Reuters news agency. Michelbach said that there was no longer any basis for continued emergency loans from the European Central Bank, which has helped keep Greek banks operational.
18:09 More than 300,000 Greeks currently reside in Germany, the country perceived by many to be the effective paymaster of Europe dictating terms to Athens. For them, these past weeks have been challenging and confusing, as DW's Manasi Gopalakrishnan found out.
18:04Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is now in talks with bank officials in the country. His optimism about reaching a new deal in Brussels after the vote was misconstrued as certainty in many media outlets, Varoufakis himself says on Twitter.
17:56 The developments in and around Athens have kept the world on tenterhooks for some time now, our look at how the topic's tackled around the globe can be read here.
17:53Senior Greens party politician Simone Peter has said on Germany's ZDF television that Greece should be given "room to breathe."
17:50The numbers are solidifying, with the Interior Ministry now predicting 61 percent of the vote or more for "no." Almost a quarter of the submitted ballots have since been counted, every region is still predicted to choose "oxi" over "nai."
17:32 Turnout in the referendum is expected to exceed 50 percent, according to Interior Minister Voutsis. That might seem a low number for such a momentous poll, but voters have had limited time - and indeed limited cash - with which to organize their returns to their constituencies to cast ballots. Postal votes were not an option, again due to time constraints.
17:23 Judging by extremely early initial results - with just 12 percent of districts reporting - the race might not be as close as predicted. Currently, the Interior Ministry's live results page is showing around 60 percent of participants voting "no." However, at this stage less than a million ballots have been counted, according to the site.
17:08 Greek Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis has confirmed that vote counting is well underway, saying to expect a result by around 9 p.m. local time (1800 UTC). He acknowledged the difficulties in arranging the vote at such short notice but praised those involved for organizing the nationwide poll.
17:03 Courtesy of Reuters: Euclid Tsakalotos, the coordinator of negotiations with Greece's creditors, has told Star TV that the government in Athens is not considering printing a new currency. "We are not discussing a parallel currency," Tsakalotos said. "I do not think...that they are going to throw us out. We are ready to meet them as early as tonight."
16:56 Here's a reminder of the text of the question Greeks were invited to vote on this Sunday. Meanwhile, Berlin has also confirmed Chancellor Merkel's Paris travel plans for Monday, via government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
16:52 Speaking of Mr. Varoufakis (read our profile of him here), a Finance Ministry official in Athens has told Reuters that the professor-turned-politician will hold talks with Greek banks later on Sunday. Banks in Greece have been shut for a week, with just a few exceptions, after Athens imposed capital controls to stop savers making a "run" on the lenders' cash reserves.
16:48 Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis compared the terms of austerity imposed from abroad to "terrorism" ahead of the vote, a move that ruffled feathers in Germany. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen took up the issue in Sunday's "Passauer Neue Presse" newspaper, saying it "made a mockery of all those who have suffered from terrorism." Von der Leyen said the Greek minister's comments also constituted a "snub" to everybody "who have worked day and night for months seeking a collective solution for Greece."
16:33 Numbers alert: These are some of the exit polls in Greece pointing to a narrow "Oxi" against the eurozone's terms for continuing the now-defunct second Greek bailout program. A Star television channel poll expected "no" to win between 49 percent and 54 percent, and "yes" to take 46-51 percent. The Mega channel's numbers, meanwhile, showed 49.5-53.5 percent "no," against 46.5-50.5 percent. In other words, both of these polls still leave scope for either camp ending up victorious. This Antenna News survey also puts "Oxi" in a narrow lead.
16:27 Not too trusting of opinion polls, given their track record this year in Europe? Here's how you can track the formal results page - and here's hoping they're ready for some unusually frantic Web traffic!
16:24 Syriza's parliamentary spokesman, Nikos Filis, has told Greek television that the "no" vote, if confirmed, would allow Athens to move forward and seal a deal with international creditors. "I think this is guidance for the government...to move forward quickly to seek a deal and normalize the banking system," he said on Greek TV.
16:21 News from the Elysee Palace in Paris, the French president's office: Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Paris on Monday to discuss the results of the Greek vote.
16:10 Opinion polls had pointed to a close race in the days before the ballot. Early exit polls suggest a slight advantage for the "no" campaign, but also point to a close race. Given the short warm-up to the vote, pollsters have struggled for comprehensive data. The European Parliament's president, Martin Schulz, has said that in the event of a "no" vote, Greece might need to leave the eurozone. Schulz told German public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that in the event of a "no," Greece would "have to introduce some other currency because the euro is not available as a means of payment."
16:05 Polls shut on the stroke of the hour around Greece, after a highly charged day's voting. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the leftist leader seeking an "Oxi" ("No") vote on the terms put forward by creditors for further assistance, said he was confident of success as he cast his ballot.
"Many may ignore the will of the government but not the will of the people to live, to live with determination, to take life into their own hands," Tsipras said in the Kypseli neighborhood of Athens.
msh/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)