About 20% of the referendum vote in Greece has been counted and early official projections show that “at least” 61% of Greeks voted “no” to the bailout terms offered by the EU.
A first official projection of Greece’s referendum outcome, based on early counting, said that at least 61% of Greeks voted “no” to creditors’ demands on Sunday, an outcome that—if confirmed—would set the country on a collision course with the rest of the eurozone.
The projection, announced by the company Singular Logic, the official partner of Greece’s interior ministry in carrying out the referendum, was announced after some 20% of the vote had been counted.
“The estimate from Singular Logic is that the result in favor of ‘no’ will exceed 61%,” a spokesman for the organizing company said.
The official projection, if confirmed when all votes are counted, points to a heavier-than-expected victory for the “no” campaign against the austerity policies demanded by Greece’s creditors: the rest of the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.
Four opinion polls conducted during Sunday by private broadcasters had pointed to a narrow majority for the “no” camp.
The projected outcome would strengthen the domestic standing of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who campaigned vehemently for Greeks to reject lenders’ terms for further bailout funding.
But Mr. Tsipras might soon find it difficult to deliver on his promise to secure a more lenient bailout deal from Europe, where other governments, led by Germany, are in no mood to offer Greece more generous terms.
Greece faces a race to secure financing before a major bond held by the European Central Bank falls due on July 20. Default could precipitate an escalation of Greece’s already severe financial and economic paralysis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will fly to Paris Monday for talks on Greece with French President François Hollande, her spokesman said after polls closed in Greece.
Greece has already defaulted on a payment to the IMF and closed its banks for a week. Unless we’ve been reading the French, German, and most of the EU leaders wrong who have been saying for a couple of weeks that a “no” vote would be tantamount to an exit from the common currency, it appears that, at least temporarily, Greece will have to step out of the eurozone.
Whether that becomes permanent or not is entirely up to Prime Minister Tsipras, whose delusions contaminated the Greek electorate. Those most desperate — the young (50% unemployment), pensioners, the poor, and, of course, the far left — share Tsipras’s fantasies about going back to the negotiating table in a stronger position because of a “no” vote. They will be disabused of that notion very quickly by the rest of Europe.
Germany is in no mood — and Chancellor Merkel is in no political position — to offer any compromises to Tsipras. French President Hollande might be more accommodating, but even the socialist government of France cannot give the Greek prime minister anywhere near the concessions he wants.
The banks are set to re-open on Tuesday, to an uncertain populace. Unless the European Central Bank sees fit to open the spigot of emergency funding, there simply will be no cash available.
There will probably be talks this week but the only “give” is going to come from Greece. The rest of the EU is sick of Tsipras’s juvenile antics and appears prepared to give the Greek prime minister a hefty dose of reality.