Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras threatened to resign if he fails to win the referendum on Sunday….reports Asian Lite News
Mr Tsipras said a clear vote against austerity would help Greece negotiate a better settlement to the crisis. Otherwise, he warned, he would not stay in office to oversee more cuts.
Greece’s bailout expires on Tuesday, the same day it faces a deadline to repay a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The loan is to be repaid by 18:00 Washington time (22:00 GMT), BBC reported.
As the deadline nears, reports in Greece say a last-minute offer was made by creditors on Monday night.
British Prime Minister David Cameron called the July 5th poll an “in/out” vote on the single European currency, while in Germany Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said the vote would be “yes or no to the eurozone”. Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, said that voting “no” to a bailout deal would set Greece on a course to leave the euro, while noting he felt “betrayed” by Greek negotiators.
On Monday, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne warned that the cost of a Greek exit would be “traumatic.” He told the Commons there is “considerable uncertainty about what happens next,” adding: “We hope for the best but we prepare for the worst.” Like his European counterparts, the chancellor said the referendum “will effectively be a choice for the Greek people about whether their country leaves the euro.”
Osborne said Britain was “prepared” for Greece to leave the eurozone. He said Britons drawing their pensions from a Greek bank account will be helped to switch to a non-Greek account if they wished.
Greece’s government has already been forced to order all banks to be closed until 6 July after the European Central Bank (ECB) decided not to extend its emergency funding.
The ECB is believed to have disbursed virtually all of its ceiling for funds, amounting to €89bn (£63bn).
Long queues of people are continuing to snake from many ATMs, with withdrawals capped at just €60 a day.
On Tuesday, Greece’s finance ministry said 1,000 bank branches would re-open from Wednesday to allow pensioners – many of whom do not use bank cards – to withdraw up to €120.
EU leaders have warned that a rejection of the creditors’ proposals on Sunday would mean Greece leaving the eurozone – though Mr Tsipras says he does not want this to happen.
Talks between Greece and its creditors broke down last week, leading to Greek banks having to shut this week.
Speaking live on state TV on Monday evening, Mr Tsipras appealed to Greeks to reject the creditors’ proposals, saying this would give Greece “more powerful weapons” to take to the negotiating table.
“We ask you to reject it with all the might of your soul, with the greatest margin possible,” he said.
He told viewers he did not believe the creditors wanted Greece out of the eurozone “because the cost is immense”.
Mr Tsipras also hinted strongly that he would resign if the result of the referendum was a “yes” vote.
“If the Greek people want to proceed with austerity plans in perpetuity, which will leave us unable to lift our head… we will respect it, but we will not be the ones to carry it out,” he said.
Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Greek parliament in Athens on Monday evening in a show of support for the government’s proposals.
A rival protest organised by those calling for a yes vote is due later on Tuesday.
Some eurozone leaders, including the Italian prime minister and French president, voiced their concern on Monday that Greek voters would effectively be deciding next Sunday whether or not they wanted to stay in the eurozone.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he felt betrayed by the Tsipras-led government and called on Greek voters to oppose him.