Hopes for an early agreement with creditors as banks remain close – Merkel meets Hollande in Paris.
Athens.- Greeks voted by a large margin to reject the austerity terms of an aid package from international creditors, an official projection of the final result of Sunday’s referendum showed.
“The assessment of Singular Logic is that the result in favor of “no” will exceed 61 percent,” an official from Singular Logic, which processes the results for the Interior Ministry, said. Only 39 percent were estimated to have voted in favor.
“We have guaranteed and organized a referendum with a sense of responsibility for the country,” Interior and Administrative Reconstruction Minister Nikos Voutsis said.
“There is great satisfaction over the way the referendum was organized,” Voutsis added. The minister said that more than 50 percent of all registered voters in the country came to the polls.
The result would hand a big victory to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who urged voters to say “no” to an aid package he called a national “humiliation” and an “ultimatum” from creditors. But pro-euro parties and eurozone policymakers have warned a “no” would be tantamount to rejecting talks with creditors, setting Greece on a path out of the euro.
“No” voters are already celebrating and drivers in Athens are honking their horns.
Reuters reports that the German Chancellor will meet the French President on Monday night to talk about the situation in Greece.
Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said:
“The talks with the French president from 630 p.m. (1630 GMT), and over dinner will be about a common assessment of the situation after the Greek referendum and the continuation of the close German-French cooperation on this subject.”
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was expected to speak on Sunday with President Hollande.
The Greek people sent an important message to Europe amid difficult conditions, according to a government source. What matters now is unity and unanimity, the same source said.
The Greek government will negotiate a solution which will be economically viable, Alternate Minister for International Economic Relations Euclid Tsakalotos said on Sunday speaking at a TV panel.
“We’ll negotiate a solution which is economically viable,” the country’s top negotiator said during his appearance on Star channel.
Asked how he believes a deal can be achieved in 24 hours when for the past five months Greece and its lenders have disagreed on very important issues, leading to a breakdown in negotiations, Tsakalotos said there are now two new elements: “The first is that the government will have a new popular mandate and the second is the IMF’s report, which states that Greek debt is unsustainable.”
Greece’s central bank will file a request on Sunday that the European Central Bank raise the amount of emergency funding (ELA) for Greek banks, the country’s government spokesman said on Sunday.
“The Bank of Greece will make a request today, and we believe there are valid grounds for there to be an increase in ELA liquidity… there is no reason not to increase liquidity,” Gabriel Sakellaridis told ANT1 television.
Meanwhile Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Sunday rejected reports in media that he had said he would accomplish an agreement with Greece’s lenders in 24 hours.
“In 24h we COULD have an agreement’, I said. But our toxic media rushed to report that I predicted an agreement within 24h. Go figure!” Varoufakis tweeted.
With banks closed, capital controls in place and warnings from EU officials that they are really voting about whether they will stay or exit the eurozone, Greeks face an almost impossible choice. Based on the last opinion polls published on Friday, before a pre-voting moratorium, the difference between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps was too close to call.
The process was unfolding smoothly and without problems on Sunday morning in polling stations throughout the country, while President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos appealed to Greeks to remain united regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s vote.
Voting lasted until 19:00 on Sunday evening, when polling stations close, and a first ‘safe’ estimate of the result is expected roughly two hours later.
Voters were given two ballots: One with the question of the referendum and a second one which will be blank. Citizens must place a cross in the box beneath their preferred response, or to the left or right of their response. For the referendum to be valid, at least 40 pct of the electoral body must participate.
Because of the tight time limits of the referendum, expatriates were not able to vote.
Casting his vote at his local polling station, the 3rd-4th Primary School of Filothei and Psychiko, on Sunday, President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos appealed to Greeks to remain united, regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s referendum.
“This day belongs to the citizen alone. He is called to decide, in accordance to his conscience and exclusively guided by the national best interests, on the future of our country and our people. I add only this, the historically self-evident: regardless of the outcome of the referendum, we have an obligation to tread the difficult path of tomorrow with absolute unity. This is what our forebears did at crucial times and this is our obligation today. We proceed, therefore, all together.”
“Today democracy conquers fear,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sunday, in a message after casting his vote in Greece’s historic referendum.
“Many people can ignore the will of a government. But no one can ignore the will of a people,” the prime minister said in Athens’ working class district of Kypseli, where he is registered to vote. He referred to signs that “the Greek people’s determination was defeating the propaganda of fear” and expressed his conviction that from Monday, Greeks will have broken a new path for all the people of Europe.
“Today is a day of celebration because democracy is a celebration, it is joy. And when democracy overcomes fear and extortion, then it becomes a redemption and a way out. The Greek people today send a very strong message. A message of dignity and determination. The message that they hold a choice in their hands. No one can ignore the will of a people to live. To live with determination and take their life in their own hands,” he said.
“I am certain that from tomorrow we will have broken a path for all the peoples in Europe. A path of return to the founding values of democracy and solidarity in Europe, sending a strong message of determination, not only to stay but also to live with dignity in Europe. To do well and work as equals among equals. Let us therefore make this act of strong will, this celebratory act of democracy, an act of determination for a better future for all of us, both in Greece and Europe. I am very optimistic,” Tsipras said.
Main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras arrived at the Pylos polling station where he is registered to vote early on Sunday morning, smiling and relaxed as he greeted local Messinia residents in his native electoral district.
“Today we Greeks decide the fate of our country. We vote ‘yes’ to Greece, ‘yes’ to Europe,” he said in a brief message after casting his vote.
He was greeted on his arrival by Pylos-Nestoras Mayor Dimitris Kafantaris and Peloponnese Region Deputy Governor Periklis Mantas. Immediately after voting, Samaras departed for Athens.
The head of the Independent Greeks (ANEL) party Panos Kammenos, leader of the junior party in Greece’s ruling coalition, on Sunday cast his vote in the historic referendum on the terms demanded by Greece’s creditors for further financial assistance to Greece before the talks broke down in late June.
Kammenos, after voting at the polling station in Glyfada, stated that this is a great day for the Greek people “who are not afraid”.
“Democracy gives the citizens a right to decide for themselves and not to those that want to subjugate citizens and states,” he said.
“Different so-called analyses threatened Greek men and women with an exit from the euro, with closed ATMs – which it has become clear were closed by the opposition parties, as it confessed. With threats of supposed deposit ‘bail-ins’ that exist nowhere and various terror scenarios. The Greek people are not afraid. Let them not forget that democracy was born in this country,” Kammenos said.
The head of the opposition moderate left party Potami, Stavros Theodorakis, cast his vote in the 2nd Haidari High School on Sunday while expressing hope that the “seed of discord that some thoughtlessly sowed will not bear fruit.”
“In a few hours,” he said, “we must face the great problem of the country united. We must strengthen its European course. I hope the prime minister keeps his promise.”
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) members said that the result of the referendum was expected. They also underlined that the government will turn the No to Yes since it has engaged that it will sign an agreement, which will have antipopular character, within 48 hours.