Europe

Greece debt crisis: Tsipras may resign if Greeks vote yes

Demonstrators during a rally in Athens, Greece, 29 June 2015. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thousands supporting a no-vote protested outside the Greek parliament on Monday

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras has threatened to resign over the result of a snap referendum on Greece's debt crisis due on Sunday.

Mr Tsipras said a clear vote against austerity would help Greece negotiate a better settlement to the crisis.

Otherwise, he warned, he would not stay in office to oversee more cuts.

Greece's bailout expires on Tuesday, the same day it faces a deadline to repay a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The loan is to be repaid by 18:00 Washington time (22:00 GMT).

As the deadline nears, reports in Greece say a last-minute offer was made by creditors on Monday night.

EU leaders have warned that a rejection of the creditors' proposals on Sunday would mean Greece leaving the eurozone - though Mr Tsipras says he does not want this to happen.

Talks between Greece and its creditors broke down last week, leading to Greek banks having to shut this week.

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Media captionPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras says creditors want to get rid of him

Speaking live on state TV on Monday evening, Mr Tsipras appealed to Greeks to reject the creditors' proposals, saying this would give Greece "more powerful weapons" to take to the negotiating table.

"We ask you to reject it with all the might of your soul, with the greatest margin possible," he said.

He told viewers he did not believe the creditors wanted Greece out of the eurozone "because the cost is immense".

Mr Tsipras also hinted strongly that he would resign if the result of the referendum was a "yes" vote.

"If the Greek people want to proceed with austerity plans in perpetuity, which will leave us unable to lift our head... we will respect it, but we will not be the ones to carry it out," he said.

Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Greek parliament in Athens on Monday evening in a show of support for the government's proposals.

A rival protest organised by those calling for a yes vote is due later on Tuesday.

Image caption Marusa, attending a no rally on Monday, says: "I believe in Tsipras and I'm not worried"

Some eurozone leaders, including the Italian prime minister and French president, voiced their concern on Monday that Greek voters would effectively be deciding next Sunday whether or not they wanted to stay in the eurozone.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he felt betrayed by the Tsipras-led government and called on Greek voters to oppose him.

Reports in Greece said Mr Juncker sent a last-minute offer to Greece on Monday night.

The new offer is believed to have centred on a change in terms to Ekas - a top-up given to poorer Greek pensioners that Athens prefers to scrap by 2020, but Europe wants phasing out earlier.

The Ekathimerini newspaper said Greece's government "listened with interest to what was being proposed" but rejected the offer.

There are, however, indications in Greek media that the government is to discuss Mr Juncker's offer again over the coming hours.


Days of turmoil

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Queues were forming in front of some ATMs in Athens - but customers will only be allowed to take out €60 per day
  • Friday evening: Greek prime minister calls referendum on terms of new bailout deal, asks for extension of existing bailout
  • Saturday afternoon: Eurozone finance ministers refuse to extend existing bailout beyond Tuesday
  • Saturday evening: Greek parliament backs referendum for 5 July
  • Sunday afternoon: ECB says it is not increasing emergency assistance to Greece
  • Sunday evening: Greek government says banks to be closed for the week and cash withdrawals restricted to €60

Is Grexit nearer?

Katya Adler: A European divide

Existential threat to euro from Greek exit

A guide to the key numbers and issues


Greece's government has already been forced to order all banks to be closed until 6 July after the European Central Bank (ECB) decided not to extend its emergency funding.

The ECB is believed to have disbursed virtually all of its ceiling for funds, amounting to €89bn (£63bn).

Long queues of people are continuing to snake from many ATMs, with withdrawals capped at just €60 a day.

On Tuesday, Greece's finance ministry said 1,000 bank branches would re-open from Wednesday to allow pensioners - many of whom do not use bank cards - to withdraw up to €120.


The question facing Greece

The question which will be put to voters on Sunday will not be as simple as whether they want to stay in the euro or not - instead it asks Greeks to approve or reject the specific terms laid out by Greece's creditors:

"Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled 'Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond' and the second 'Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis'.

"Not approved/NO

"Approved/YES"

Trying to crack the puzzle of the Greek referendum question

Greek debt jargon explained


The Athens stock exchange has also been closed as part of the emergency measures.

The government said it would make public transport free in the Athens area for a week while the banks are closed.

Stock markets in Europe continued to fall soon after opening on Tuesday, after closing down on Monday.

But Asian markets rebounded, with stock markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul all rising compared with the previous day.