Greek parliament votes for referendum on bailout deal

Greek parliament votes for referendum on bailout deal
Voters must decide the fate of Greece as it veers toward default

The Greek parliament early on Sunday voted by a large majority to hold a referendum on continuing the country’s bailout according to the terms set by the Eurogroup, the EU, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

A total of 178 parliamentarians voted in favor of the referendum with 120 members voting against. Two parliamentarians were absent. The government required 151 votes to pass the measure.

The referendum will now be held on Sunday, July 5. The complex wording of the referendum is still being worked out, as voters must understand the choice they are to make. More information about the wording of the referendum is expected on Sunday from the Greek Finance Ministry.

Political Analyst Eftychis Vardoulakis told Anadolu Agency Sunday that the proposal for a referendum was a leap in the dark towards high-risk and uncertainty.

“The government has transferred the burden of a very important decision to its citizens in a very short time, without full information and without being clear about the consequences. It invests in an emotional appeal of citizens, to elicit support out of rage, without clarifying what is the road map that will follow the next day,” Vardoulakis said.

The reaction from Greece’s creditors was to reject any extension of the bailout beyond Tuesday. Further, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde told the BBC on Sunday that the bailout vote was invalid. The Greek people are voting on proposals that are no longer in place, she said.

But she said that if there was a resounding vote in favor of staying in the euro and restoring the economy then Greece’s creditors would be willing to try.

Former prime minister and leader of conservative right New Democracy Antonis Samaras said: “In the referendum, it’s not really the deal that is being decided; it’s the fate of our country in staying in the euro”.

“You failed dramatically and noticeably, Mr. Tsipras,” Samaras said, adding: “You brought an unacceptable agreement and you’re leading the country out of the euro and Europe. Your agreement is worse than any bailout program. Before the elections, you promised €11 billion for benefits and you bring austerity measures worth €8.5 billion”.

“I state it clearly, us Greeks want to remain firmly in the heart of Europe. The referendum drags the country out of Europe,” he said.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: “We will all respect the result. We will defend democracy, popular sovereignty and the founding values of Europe and he added that the government will not require permission from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble or Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem to allow the people to have their say and secure democracy in the country it was born.”

Greece will almost certainly default on the $2 billion in payments due to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday.

After that, the country’s banks may no longer be eligible for emergency loans from the European Central Bank, as they may no longer be creditworthy. Lines of savers have formed in front of Greek banks around the country as consumers frantically withdraw as much of their funds as possible ahead of the probable imposition of capital controls after Tuesday.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said that a bank holiday could be declared until the referendum on Sunday.

The imposition of capital controls would prevent Greeks from having full access to their bank accounts.