Opinion: The referendum as a weapon | Opinion | DW | 06.07.2015
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Opinion

Opinion: The referendum as a weapon

Greeks have voted and a majority has decided against the austerity measures demanded by the eurozone and the IMF. The government is seeking to profit undeservedly from the result, writes Spiros Moskovou.

A majority of Greek voters rejected the most recent austerity and reform proposals from international creditors in Sunday's referendum. However, as these proposals are no longer on the table since negotiations broke down nine days ago, the result is a matter of interpretation.

The majority of the population rejected additional measures to consolidate Greece's finances and make them conform with the eurozone's rule, thereby supporting the tactics and politics of the Tsipras government. The populist coalition government in Athens spent five months deliberating willy-nilly, before recently walking away from the negotiating table.

Moskovou Spiros Kommentarbild App

Spiros Moskovou

Should the drachma be reintroduced as a mark of respect for Greece's democracy? Unfortunately, the situation is more complicated than that. People were queuing up all over Athens on Sunday - not in front of polling stations, but in front of ATMs. Beginning just after midnight every night, people try to withdraw the money they need. Only 60 percent of voters took part in the referendum, even though Syriza mobilized all possible resources - even the Turkish minority in Thrace. Countless Greeks are fed up with their politicians and are busy just trying to survive.

Tsipras sharpens his weapons

But at the same time, the Tsipras government is celebrating the "resounding no" and expressing optimism. For the past few days, Athens has been claiming that it will reach a new deal within 48 hours. It became more concrete on Sunday - the Tsipras team announced that it had a new weapon in the negotiations, namely the referendum result. This came in addition to Thursday's IMF report, which said Greece's debt was not sustainable, and that both a credit extension and debt relief were needed.

But just in case the lenders remain unimpressed, a concrete measure was taken in Athens on Sunday night. The government blocked an estimated ten billion euros deposited in bank safe-deposit boxes. It wants to ascertain whether the funds were accumulated through tax evasion. May God protect the Greek people from their politicians!