Greek PM attacks creditors; tells people to vote no in referendum

In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras attacked Greece’s European partners, accusing them of wanting to blackmail his government and the Greek people.

Tsipras defended his decision to put the reform program proposed by Greece’s creditors to a referendum. He argued that the capital controls and bank holidays imposed on Greece immediately after he called a referendum were signs that creditors want to oust his government and force the Greek people to accept austerity measures including pension and wage cuts.

The PM’s attack made no mention of the fact that it was his decision to abandon negotiations in the first place and subsequently allow Greece’s IMF debt to fall into arrears and the country’s bailout program to expire. In fact, the Greek premier argued that Greece is still at the negotiation table and will get a better deal if the “No” vote prevails in the July 5 referendum.

The euro zone countries have made clear that voting “No” to the bailout terms would amount to dropping out of the euro, something most Greeks do not want. However, according to Tsipras, that is not the intention of his government and the “No” vote would not lead to a “Grexit”.

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(Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras photo by EU audiovisual service.)