German Chancellor Angela Merkel has discussed the outcome of Greece’s referendum with French President Francois Hollande in a telephone call, with both agreeing the ‘No’ vote must be respected, a German government spokesman says.
“Both were in agreement that the vote by the Greek people be respected. The Chancellor and the President are in favour of calling for a summit of eurozone heads of state and government heads on Tuesday,” the spokesman said.
The two leaders had sent a corresponding request to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, according to sources in the French presidency.
There are no explicit provisions in EU rules for summits of eurozone leaders, but they can be held in exceptional circumstances. The last such summit was held in Brussels last month.
During the evening, Hollande spoke separately by telephone with Merkel, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament head Martin Schulz and Tusk, the French sources said.
Official results from close to 90 of Greece’s polling stations showed more than 61 percent of Greeks had voted ‘No’ to creditor demands for further austerity in return for further bailout funds.
The likely result has Greece’s government claiming “a clear mandate” for less stringent bailout conditions as voters looked set to overwhelmingly back its rejection of further austerity.
Early official figures, based on 50 per cent of ballots counted, showed more than 61 per cent of votes in favour of a government’s ‘No’ to tough austerity conditions that had been attached to a bailout deal that expired last Tuesday.
Forty per cent had voted for ‘Yes’.
The interior ministry said turnout was more than 50 per cent.
“With this result, the prime minister has a clear mandate from the Greek people,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said on television.
“Initiatives will intensify from this evening (Sunday) onward so that there can be a deal” on a new bailout, he said.
He added that the Bank of Greece was immediately asking the European Central Bank to inject emergency euro cash for Greece’s depleted banks, which have been shuttered all week because of capital controls.
Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, who also leads the junior coalition party in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s leftwing government, said in a tweet that the Greeks “proved they don’t bow to blackmail, to threats”.
However, in the street, some voters who had voted ‘No’ against further grinding austerity said they had been confronted with an impossible choice.
One of them, Nika Spenzes, 33 and unemployed, said: “I’m not happy – we cannot be happy as a nation with this unemployment and poverty. And a ‘No’ victory doesn’t mean there’s any more hope for Greece than before.”
A pro-government crowd buoyed by the result began gathering in central Athens late Sunday to celebrate the likely ‘No’ result.
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