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Greece still wants its referendum after saying yes to a third bailout

The country’s prime minister says it’s not a vote on staying in Europe.

Image: AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos

GREECE’S PRIME MINISTER wants his country’s citizens to vote ‘No’ in the upcoming referendum on accepting new bailout terms from the troika – despite his government yesterday saying it would agree a deal.

In a televised address to the money-starved nation, Alexis Tsipras said the country would still hold the poll despite the last-ditch attempt at negotiations.

He denied that a ‘No’ vote on creditors’ proposals – which included pension cuts his anti-austerity government has said it wasn’t willing to accept – meant the country would also be voting itself out of Europe.

A ‘No’ vote does not signify a rupture with Europe, but a return to the Europe of values,” he said.

Tsipras said coming down against creditors at the referendum would put the troika under “great pressure” to keep negotiating and that would make the vote a “decisive step for a better deal”.

He added that Greece would continue to negotiate with its international creditors and some “better proposals” that involved a debt restructure had been put forward.

Bookies Paddy Power have already paid on a weekend ‘Yes’ vote, adding on Twitter that its traders clearly thought the outcome was a “foregone conclusion”.

That was despite a poll on the referendum showing a lead for the ‘No’ campaign.

Deal or no deal?

It comes after Tsipras wrote a letter to troika chiefs yesterday in which he set out some proposed “amendments” to the deal on the table in order to secure a third, €29 billion bailout.

They included keeping a discount VAT rate on the Greek islands and postponing the introduction of pension changes. The Greek government has rejected suggestions the offer represented a capitulation to the creditors’ demands.

Europe Greece Bailout Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Source: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Germany has already slapped away the approach with Chancellor Angela Merkel saying her country would “calmly” wait on the referendum result.

The world is watching us … but the future of Europe is not at stake,” she told the parliament.

Greece has received €240 million in two bailouts and the latest deal would also unlock the last tranche of cash due under the second agreement.

It became the first developed country to miss a bailout repayment to the IMF late yesterday when it couldn’t come up with the €1.6 billion that fell due.

With reporting from AFP

READ: The first time Greece defaulted was more than 2,000 years ago >

READ: Paul Murphy accuses Michael Noonan of ‘stabbing the Greek people in the chest’ >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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