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Greek gov't welcomes "NO" leading in referendum after pollsters' estimates
Greece's government welcomed on Sunday the first estimates of pollsters' which showed that "NO" leads in the critical referendum on the signing of a new debt deal with creditors that could mark the country's future.
According to estimates of five polling firms released with the closing of the ballots at 7:00 p.m. local time, most Greek people voted "NO" in the referendum which may decide whether Greece will avert a looming disorderly default and possible Grexit which could shake the euro zone.
"NO" was expected to garner 52 percent of votes against 48 percent for "YES", according to the survey conducted by Metron Analysis polling firm private television ANT1 TV.
GPO experts gave a 51.5 percent to "NO" versus 48.5 percent to "YES", according to the estimates presented at MEGA TV.
"NO" was also leading by 51 against 48 for "YES" in Marc's survey for ALPHA TV.
In the poll carried out by MRB polling firm the percentages respectively were 49-54 percent for "NO" against 46-51 percent for "YES", according to STAR TV.
MARC pollsters projected 49.5-54.5 percent for "NO" versus 45.5-50.5 percent for "YES", according to ALPHA TV channel.
All results were based on telephone interviews conducted on Saturday and Sunday instead of the traditional exit polls outside exit booths.
The first official estimates by the Interior Ministry were due at around 9:00 p.m..
In first comments to media, Greek government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis said that a new clear mandate was given to the Leftist government to stick to its proposals for the resolution of the debt crisis and reject the creditors' "harsh and unsustainable" offer.
"From tonight we start the substantial negotiation," he told ANT1 TV.
Ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis commented in a similar tone that with a strengthened bargaining position now Greece could seek a "mutually beneficial" reforms for cash agreement "as an equal partner and not a colony."
European officials, main opposition parties in Greece and analysts across the world have warned that the result could be interpreted as a "NO" to Greece's future membership in the euro zone and lead to more hardship for Greek people.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who called the referendum a week ago as five month negotiations with lenders had hit an impasse, has assured voters that as soon as on July 7 Greece will have secured a deal on better terms to unlock further vital funding to stay afloat in the euro zone.
His government has assured that the banks which closed last Monday, when capital controls were imposed after the European Central Bank cut off emergency liquidity aid following his surprise call for the referendum, will reopen on Tuesday. Skepticism was widespread.
"If the Premier will not achieve a deal, as he pledged, by Tuesday, the country faces a great tragedy," former Speaker of Parliament Vangelis Meimarakis commented in a first reaction by the main opposition conservative New Democracy party.
Since July 1 Greece is already in arrears to the International Monetary Fund and without the safety net of the bailout program that kept it afloat over the past five years, is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Officials and analysts in Greece and abroad warned that even if "YES" wins, banks may not reopen this week, ATMs will run out of cash and Greek citizens will suffer more pain before any deal is reached and liquidity is restored with lenders' help.
[Source: Xinhua, Athens, 05Jul15]
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