Published On: Sat, Jun 27th, 2015

Tsipras Puts Greek Crisis Decision Out To Public Referendum

Alexis Tsipras

Alexis Tsipras addressed the Greek public on Skai TV informing them of a referendum.

On Saturday Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for a referendum on austerity demands from foreign creditors rejecting a so called “ultimatum” from lenders leaving the decision of Greece’s nation in the hands of its public.

Many Greek citizens woke up shocked on Saturday morning to the news that their vote will be required on July 5th on whether to accept demands put forward by Greece’s creditors which include steep rises in value-added tax and pension cuts to ensure funding is continued by the IMF and Eurozone.

Tsipras made a televised speech just after midnight to the nation saying “our responsibility is for the future of our country. This responsibility obliges us to respond to the ultimatum through the sovereign will of the Greek people.”

The Greek prime minister has said he would respect the decision of the public vote however has argued that the most recent proposal still “clearly violates European social rules and fundamental rights” worsening Greece’s entrenched economy and said it aimed for “humiliation of the entire Greek people”.

Government ministers from the country have said they are confident Greeks would reject the bailout plans, leaving open the question of whether this would cause the country to default and leave the euro.

In the most recent proposal given to Athens on Thursday the EU and IMF would be willing to lend 15.5 billion euros in four installments keeping the country afloat until the end of November, this would include 1.8 billion euros by Tuesdays deadline providing the Greek parliament had approved the plan.

The payment is barely more than what Greece needs to service its debts over the next six months and contains no new money. A third bailout program would be required for further funding however this would be politically impossible at the moment in Athens and Berlin.

Without the bailout funds from the EU and IMF Athens is due to default on their 1.6 billion euro repayment to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday. This would push Greece closer to being forced out of the euro, causing chaos for its economy and financial markets. Tsipras has said he will ask euro zone finance ministers for an extension on its latest payment which is due on Tuesday by a few days to offer enough time for the referendum.

From early Saturday morning queues of people were seen at banks and ATMs to withdraw their money with many worried about a collapse of the country’s financial system. If the Greek public were to accept the new demands they would face an increase in taxes on food, restaurants and tourism, new reductions in public sector salaries and the elimination of tax breaks on tourist islands.

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