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Government may resign if Greeks vote yes in referendum: Minister

2 July 2015 15:54



Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says the country’s left-wing government “may very well” resign if people vote yes in an upcoming referendum on whether to accept the terms of a bailout deal from the eurozone.

Responding to a question about whether the government will resign if people voted yes in the referendum, Varoufakis told Australian public radio network ABC on Thursday, “Yes, we may very well do that. But we will do this in the spirit of cooperation with whoever takes over from us.”

Meanwhile, people are rushing to the banks to withdraw their money in fear of capital controls and more financial chaos after nearly six years of crisis and deep recession.

Banks had been shuttered all week to prevent mass money withdrawals, and only a few reopened to help pensioners without cash cards.

Crowds of anxious elderly Greeks thronged banks in the capital, Athens, to withdraw their maximum of 120 euros ($134) for the week.

Greek pensioners line up outside a national bank branch in Athens, Greece, July 2, 2015. (© AFP)

“It’s very bad,” 68-year-old retired pharmacy worker Popi Stavrakaki said. “I’m afraid it will be worse soon. I have no idea why this is happening.”

Elsewhere, in Greece’s second largest city of Thessaloniki, some banks have run out of money.

“I have a shop. I came to the bank to withdraw as much money as I can in order to cover the needs of my shop for next week,” 42-year-old Maria Kalpakidou said. “If we don’t have an agreement by July 4, the Greek banking system will crash.”

Private employee Nikos, 52, also said, “There is a lot of fear of what may happen. In the last election, I voted for Syriza. But we voted for them to decide, not to transfer responsibility to us, to the Greek people.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses the nation during a televised speech from his office in Athens, Greece, July 1, 2015. (© AFP)

Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a ‘No vote’ in the country’s July 5 referendum.

A no vote would not endanger Greece’s place in the eurozone or in the European Union (EU), but would instead exert pressure on the country’s international lenders to provide Athens with an economically viable agreement, Tsipras said in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday.

“A no vote does not signify a rupture with Europe, but a return to the Europe of values,” Tsipras said.

The Greek prime minister also called on Europe to stop acting in an “undemocratic way” concerning Greece’s forthcoming poll, describing the European creditors’ program for Greece as a failure as it led Athens to bankruptcy.

On June 27, the Greek parliament passed a bill approving Tsipras’ motion to hold the referendum on whether the government should agree to the lenders’ demands for tougher austerity measures in return for bailout funds to the debt-ridden country.

Greece received two bailouts worth a total of EUR 240 billion (USD 272 billion) in 2010 and 2012 from its creditors following the 2009 economic crisis. The Mediterranean country is seeking a third bailout from the eurozone rescue fund in the hope of resolving its deepening financial crisis.

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