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Early results show Greeks vote ‘no’


REUTERS

Early results show Greeks vote ‘no’

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ATHENS – Greeks voted overwhelmingly “No” on Sunday in a historic bailout referendum, partial results showed, defying warnings from across Europe that rejecting new austerity terms for fresh financial aid would set their country on a path out of the euro.

With nearly a fifth of the votes counted, official figures showed 60.4 per cent of Greeks on course to reject a bailout offer from creditors that was the official issue of the ballot. The figures showed the “Yes” vote drew 40.1 per cent. An official projection of the final result is expected later.

Officials from the Greek government, which had argued that a “No” vote would strengthen its hand to secure a better deal from international creditors after months of wrangling, immediately said they would try to restart talks with European partners.

“The negotiations which will start must be concluded very soon, even within 48 hours,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told Greek television. “We will undertake every effort to seal it soon.”

Euclid Tsakalotos, the government’s chief negotiator said talks could restart as early as Sunday evening.

Many of Athens’ partners have warned over the past week that a “No” vote would mean cutting bridges with Europe and driving Greece’s crippled financial system into outright bankruptcy, dramatically worsening the country’s five-year-long depression.

If confirmed, the result would also deliver a hammer blow to the European Union’s grand single currency project. Intended to be permanent and unbreakable when it was created 15 years ago, the euro zone could now be on the point of losing its first member with the risk of further unravelling to come. (Reuters)

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