Greek people reject austerity in decisive referendum vote
The people of Greece have voted to decisively reject austerity in today’s referendum.
Voters were asked whether to accept the ultimatum on bailout conditions made to Greece by the Troika (the IMF, EU, and European Central Bank) that would have involved further austerity imposed upon Greece and was rejected by the Syriza government. Despite scare stories from the media and financial blackmail from the European establishment about the prospect of a ‘no’ vote, the people of Greece have stayed strong and voted to reject this proposal. With most of the votes now counted, the result has emerged to have been a 61% vote in favour of ‘no’.
Both the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Green Party called on the people of Greece to reject this proposal, and for European debt conference to agree on the cancellation of debt for Greece. Throughout Europe over the past week, there have also been many mass rallies and demonstrations in solidarity with the people of Greece.
What will happen next at this point remains uncertain, though the Greek government is hoping to arrange a better deal, now with the clear mandate of the Greek people. It is crucial that in this difficult and uncertain time for Greece, all those throughout Europe who are opposed to austerity continue to show their support for the people of Greece.
In response to the vote, Romayne Phoenix, the Trade Union Officer for the Green Party of England and Wales and a founding member of the Greece Solidarity Campaign, said that it is ‘a victory for the people of Greece and for all of us fighting austerity and the neo-liberal capitalist values that have no regard for people and planet before profit.’
Peter McColl, the lead candidate for the Scottish Greens in May’s election and a candidate for Edinburgh in next year’s Holyrood elections, also gave Bright Green his response: ‘Greens will be delighted that Greece have voted No to austerity and yes to democracy. We need to build a Europe for the people not a Europe for the plutocrats. The Troika must listen to the people of Greece and restructure debt. Austerity is totally self-defeating and this vote offers the best opportunity to put it to an end.’
Green MP Caroline Lucas has said of the vote: ‘The Greek people have made a decision which must now be respected. This referendum has seen EU states do their very best to undermine the democratic will of the Greek people but it’s time to draw a line under the past and move onwards.’
‘History shows us that countries can escape crippling debt in a just way. In 1953, at London Conference, Greece was among the European nations signing a deal which allowed for the cancellation of German debt, to enable the country to grow again after the destruction of the Second World War. Europe needs to come together to offer the Greeks a deal which allows their country to be rebuilt.’