An opinion poll shows the Greek referendum is set to be a tight race. Campaigning is underway, even as a top court is due to rule on the poll's legality.
Simultaneous rallies were due to be held in Athens Friday, with campaigners respectively urging "Yes" or "No" votes in Greece's referendum on whether to accept proposed reforms in return for bailout funds.
The referendum is due to be held Sunday. An opinion poll published in "To Ethnos" newspaper revealed that Greeks overwhelmingly wanted to stick with the euro, with 74 percent favoring the currency. Only 15 percent preferred a national currency while 11 percent would not answer or did not know.
As for the referendum itself, the result was much more evenly split, with 41.5 percent supporting the "Yes" side and 40.2 percent supporting "No." Those results are well within the margin of error of 3.1 percent for the nationwide survey of 1,000 people, conducted by ALCO on June 30 and July 1. About 10.9 percent of those surveyed were undecided; with the rest saying they would abstain or cast blank ballots. If those who would cast blank ballots or abstain were discounted, the results changed to 44.8 percent for "Yes" with 43.4 percent for "No."
The proposed wording of the referendum has left it open to confusion. The question Greeks will be asked to reply yes or no to on Sunday reads:
"Must the agreement plan be accepted which was submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the Eurogroup of 25 June 2015 and is comprised of two parts which make up the joint proposal?
"The first document is titled 'reforms for the completion of the current program and beyond' and the second 'Preliminary debt sustainability analysis."
Advocates of a "No" vote, including Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who called the referendum, say it would boost their position in debt negotiations, while European officials and members of the Greek opposition have cast it as a referendum on the country's future membership of the eurozone and said a "No" vote could well lead to Greece being forced out of the euro. The Greek government has denied that would be the case.
Disputed in court
It remains to be seen whether the referendum will go ahead on Sunday at all. Greece's highest administrative court, the Council of State, is due to rule Friday on whether the referendum is legal, after two private citizens brought a motion asking the court to rule it illegal. Democracy watchdog group the Council of Europe has said Sunday's referendum will not meet international standards because the question posed is too vague and voters have not been given enough time to prepare.
"The question of the referendum is neither factually nor legally correct," EU Commission Deputy President Valdis Dombrovskis told German newspaper "Die Welt," saying that the bailout package Greeks were being asked to vote on had since expired.
Meanwhile, Greek citizens are struggling to cope with capital controls which have been in place since Monday. A limit on cash withdrawals of 60 euros ($66) a day has effectively been dropped to 50 euros as supplies of 20 euro notes have begun to dry up.
se/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)