Greeks defy Europe with overwhelming referendum 'No'

  • Earlier indications of result show voters rejecting bailout
  • Greek officials say new bailout deal possible
  • Finance minister due to meet top bankers
  • Referendum set to decide Greece's future in euro



A 'No' vote would leave Greece and the euro zone in uncharted waters. Unable to borrow money on capital markets, Greece has one of the world's highest levels of public debt. The International Monetary Fund warned last week that it would need massive debt relief and 50 billion euros in fresh funds.

Greek officials see the IMF report as a vital support for their argument that the bailout terms as they stood would merely have driven Greece further into depression.

Tsipras called the referendum eight days ago after rejecting the tough terms offered by international creditors as the price for releasing billions of euros in bailout funds.

He denounced the bailout terms as "blackmail" and his argument that a 'No' vote would allow the government to get a better deal appears to have convinced many Greeks, particularly among younger voters who have been ravaged by unemployment levels of nearly 50 percent.

"I have been jobless for nearly four years and was telling myself to be patient," said 43-year-old Eleni Deligainni, who said she voted 'No'. "But we've had enough deprivation and unemployment."

Opinion polls over the months have shown a large majority of Greeks want to remain in the euro. But, exhausted and angry after five years of cuts, falling living standards and rising taxes imposed under successive bailout programmes, many appear to have shrugged off the warnings of disaster, trusting that a deal can still be reached.



Early results show 'No' vote with strong lead in Greek referendum

ATHENS: Early results based on 10 percent of the votes cast showed Greeks on course to reject a bailout offer from creditors in a referendum on the package on Sunday.

The 'No' camp had 59.8 percent of the vote with about 10 percent of the votes cast, while the 'Yes' vote drew 40.1 percent of the votes, according to figures on the interior ministry website. An official projection of the final result is expected at 1800 GMT.


Greece says has no plans to issue parallel currency

ATHENS: Greece's government is not considering printing a new currency, a government official said on Sunday, after opinion polls showed that Greeks are set to reject an aid package from creditors in a referendum.

"We are not discussing a parallel currency," Euclid Tsakalotos, the coordinator of negotiations with the country's creditors, told Star TV. "I do not think...that they are going to throw us out. We are ready to meet them as early as tonight."

Euro zone policymakers have warned a 'No' vote would make it difficult for the European Central Bank to offer Greek lenders the emergency financial assistance they rely on.