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Defiant Greeks vote 'No' in challenge to EU leaders

Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP

Greek voters have overwhelmingly rejected the terms of an aid package from international creditors, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted a "No" vote would help clinch a better deal. Follow the referendum as it happened on our liveblog.

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After a dramatic week that saw Greece default on its debts, close its banks and start rationing cash, Greeks voted on Sunday on whether to accept or reject tough conditions sought by international creditors to extend a lending lifeline that has kept the debt-stricken country afloat.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had urged fellow Greeks to vote “No” to the new austerity measures proposed by the country’s creditors, saying this would strengthen his hand at the negotiating table. But EU leaders warned Greek voters that a negative outcome could jeopardize the country’s place in the eurozone.

Tsipras's gamble paid off, as Greeks gave the "No" camp more than 60 percent of the vote, sending out a defiant message to Europe's leaders.

  • Greece's prime minister said the "No" result in the bailout referendum showed that "democracy won't be blackmailed”. Thanking Greek voters for a “brave choice”, Tsipras said Greece is willing to return to talks, but "this time the issue of debt will be on the negotiating table".
  • Thousands of government supporters gathered in celebration in Athens' main square, waving Greek flags and chanting "No, No". Greek Finance Minister said Sunday’s “No” vote was “a loud ‘Yes’ to the vision of the eurozone as a common area of prosperity and social justice”.
  • European Council President Donald Tusk called a eurozone summit for Tuesday evening to discuss the situation in Greece, following a joint request by the French and German leaders. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Paris on Monday to discuss Greece with French President François Hollande.
  • Germany's deputy chancellor and economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said the Greek government was leading its people "onto a path of bitter austerity and hopelessness" and had "torn down the last bridges, across which Europe and Greece could move toward a compromise".
  • Greece’s former prime minister and current opposition leader Antonis Samaras, who campaigned for a “Yes” vote, announced his resignation after suffering a crushing defeat in the referendum.
     

Mobile and tablet users can access the live blog by clicking here.

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