Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras went on television on Sunday night and said "Together we have written a bright page in modern European history." His government had called for a "No" vote in the snap referendum to reject terms of the latest offer from international creditors which imposed more pension cuts and tax increases, without any debt relief.
"This is not a mandate of rupture with Europe, but a mandate that bolsters our negotiating strength to achieve a viable deal," he remarked. Tsipras said he was willing to resume negotiations with creditors immediately.
Thousands of people gathered in central Syntagma Square to celebrate the result on Sunday night. Results showed 61 percent voted "no," compared with 38 percent for "yes."
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Sunday: "The Greek people said 'no more' to five years of austerity."
The "no" votes carried through virtually every district in the country
Tsipras said he would call a meeting of ministers on Monday to discuss next steps. As the last offer from the country's creditors is no longer on the table, there remains the possibility that they could walk away from negotiations and leave Greece to face default, financial collapse and expulsion from the eurozone - and, in the worst case, from the European Union.
Greece failed to meet its debt repayment date with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last Tuesday, the same day its bailout program with the EU expired. Athens faces more debt repayments in the coming weeks.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday she would travel to Paris on Monday to meet with the French president, Francois Hollande, for a "joint assessment of the situation after the Greek referendum."
The two leaders later called for a summit of eurozone leaders on Tuesday - a request rapidly granted by EU Council President Donald Tusk.
jm/jr (Reuters, AFP)