"Oxi", and out?

WHY did the Greeks vote no? “Because we are tired of everything, from all the lies, from paying for the rich, and from years of austerity, especially for young”, answers Dora, a young Athenian waving a big Greek flag as she celebrates the “No” victory on Syntagma Square with her friends. Greek people have spoken. With over 90% of the vote counted, more than 61% of ballots have been cast for “Oxi” (No) in a controversial last-minute referendum that has divided the country into two over the past week. The none-too-clear, 72-word question put to Greeks asked whether they accepted a (since-expired) deal proposed by their European creditors. Some have interpreted this as a vote on bail-out terms; others say it is ultimately a vote on Greece’s membership of the euro, and even of the European Union.

Which of those two interpretations ends up being the actual consequence of the result will become clearer in the coming days. Greece’s creditors, including the chairman of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, and his counterpart in Germany, Wolfgang Schäuble, have taken a hard line. They have warned Greeks that their position in the single currency club would be at great risk if they voted no. Some reports suggested that Mr Schäuble has softened his stance over the weekend. In remarks made on July 5th, however, Mr Dijsselbloem was hardly conciliatory. “We have to be honest,” he reckoned. “Greece will only get out of this situation when the deep-rooted problems are tackled. I strongly hope that honest politicians will step forward who are willing to take that responsibility.”

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