Monday 5 December 2016

'I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride' - Greece's Yanis Varoufakis resigns despite 'No' vote against Eurozone 'ultimatum'

New finance minister to be announced following meeting of political leaders this morning

Caroline Crawford, Gavin Cordon and Mehreen Khan

Published 06/07/2015 | 02:30

In this photo take on Sunday, July 5, 2015 Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis makes statements at the Finance Ministry after the results of referendum in Athens. Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis announced on Monday, July 6, 2015 his resignation after 'no' vote against bailout. (AP Photo/Angelos Christofilopoulos)
In this photo take on Sunday, July 5, 2015 Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis makes statements at the Finance Ministry after the results of referendum in Athens. Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis announced on Monday, July 6, 2015 his resignation after 'no' vote against bailout. (AP Photo/Angelos Christofilopoulos)
Anti-austerity ‘No’ voters celebrate the results of the first exit polls in front of the Greek parliament in Syntagma Square in Athens last night
No voters kiss as they celebrate the results of the first exit polls in front of the Greek parliament in Syntagma Square in Athens last night
No voters embrace as they celebrate the results of the first exit polls in front of the Greek parliament in Syntagma Square in Athens last night
A woman poses with her daughter as she prepares to cast her vote in Athens yesterday
A ballot box is emptied by a voting official at the closing of polling stations in Athens yesterday
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras casts his ballot at a polling station in Athens yesterday
Mr Tsipras’s wife Betty Baziana gets out of a car at the prime minister’s office
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis arrives at a polling station with his father Giorgos.

Greeks have stunned the European Union by voting overwhelmingly to reject the austerity terms demanded by the country's international creditors.

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With almost all votes counted, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the Greek people had sent back the "ultimatum" from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Greek finance minister, whose forceful denunciations of creditors alienated many of his euro zone colleagues, said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras believed it would help smooth the path to a new aid deal.

His resignation comes after Greeks delivered a resounding 'No' to the conditions of a rescue package with international creditors, casting the country into uncharted waters and a possible exit from Europe's common currency.

With relations already frosty, Varoufakis infuriated Greece's European partners last week when he accused creditors of using "terrorism" against the Greek people to intimidate them into accepting more austerity.

Read more: Cradle of democracy has sent a message to the world

A supporter of the No vote waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament after the results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A supporter of the No vote waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament after the results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Supporters of the No vote chant slogans after the results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Supporters of the No vote celebrate after the results of the referendum in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
A riot police detains a youth during minor clashes in central Athens, Greece early July 6, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
"No" supporters shout slogans and wave Greek national flags during celebrations following a referendum in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis
Supporters of the No vote celebrate after the results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
"No" supporters shout slogans during celebrations after a referendum in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis
"No" supporters wave Greek national flags during celebrations in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis
"No" supporters shout slogans during celebrations following a referendum in front of the parliament in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis
"No" supporters shout slogans and wave Greek national flags during celebrations after a referendum in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis
Masked youth walk along a street during minor clashes in central Athens, Greece late July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
"No" supporters shout slogans and wave Greek national flags during celebrations in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis
Riot police detain masked youth during minor clashes in central Athens, Greece early July 6, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
"No" supporters wave Greek national flags on the main Constitution (Syntagma) square in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A "No" supporter waves an "Estelada" (Catalonian separatist flag) in Thessaloniki, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
Supporters of the ruling Syriza party celebrate their victory in a referendum by the parliament in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis
Supporters of the No vote celebrate after the results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A supporter of the No vote shouts slogans after the results of the referendum in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
"No" supporters wave Greek flags by the parliament in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A "No" supporter waves a Greek flag by the parliament in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015.REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A supporter of the No vote shouts slogans after the results of the referendum in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
A "No" supporter waves a Greek flag by the parliament in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

In a statement, Varoufakis said he had been "made aware" that some members of the euro zone considered him unwelcome at meetings of finance ministers, "an idea the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement".

"For this reason I am leaving the ministry of finance today."

"I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday's referendum," Varoufakis said.

"And I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride."

The result - with more than 60pc voting No - represents a sensational victory for the country's radical left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who had gambled all on the outcome of the referendum.

But it leaves the country facing an uncertain future - with opponents warning he needs a new bailout deal fast if he is to avoid a catastrophic financial crash that could send it spinning out of the single currency.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras casts his ballot at a polling station in Athens yesterday
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras casts his ballot at a polling station in Athens yesterday

Read more: Celebrations in the street but future is uncertain

With Greek banks rapidly running out of cash, European Council President Donald Tusk has called an emergency summit of eurozone leaders for tomorrow after appeals by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande

Ms Merkel and Mr Hollande - the leaders of the two biggest eurozone members - will meet today in Paris for crisis talks.

In London, David Cameron will meet Chancellor George Osborne, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and other senior officials to discuss the likely impact on the UK.

In Athens, jubilant supporters of the Syriza government poured into Syntagma Square opposite the Greek parliament to celebrate what they regarded as a famous triumph and a decisive rejection of austerity.

Read more: Celebrations in the street but future is uncertain

Mr Varoufakis said the Greek Government would now reach out to the institutions - the IMF, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank (ECB) - to try to find an agreed way forward.

A woman leaves a polling booth to cast her ballot during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A woman leaves a polling booth to cast her ballot during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Maps of Greece hang on the wall next to a voting booth in a polling station at a school's classroom in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
The moon sets behind a Greek flag over an elementary school used as polling station in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
An elderly voter waits outside a polling station at an elementary school in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A voter enters a polling station at a school's classroom in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A voting official prepares documents before opening the the polling station during a referendum in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
People prepare to cast ballots during a referendum in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
A man casts his ballot during a referendum in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
A man prepares to cast his ballot during a referendum in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015.REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
A voter enters a polling station at a school's classroom in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. Greece voted on Sunday on whether to accept more austerity in exchange for international aid, in a high-stakes referendum likely to determine whether it leaves the euro-currency area after seven years of economic pain. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Ballot papers are seen on a table as a man leaves a polling booth before casting his ballot during a referendum in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
A child casts her grandmother's ballot during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A woman enters a voting station before casting her ballot during a referendum in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Voting officials are seen inside a polling station during a referendum in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Athenians are seen inside polling booths at a school in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A man enters a polling station to cast his ballot during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A Greek Orthodox priest exits a booth holding a ballot at a polling station in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A Greek Orthodox priest exits a booth holding a ballot at a polling station in Athens, Greece July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A man raises his arms as he leaves a polling booth before casting his ballot during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
A man leaves a polling booth to cast his ballot during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A woman casts her ballot during a referendum vote in Athens, Greece, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Mr Tsipras said the debt issue would now be on the negotiating table and said he was willing to continue discussions about economic reforms.

"With this No we will try to co-operate with our partners and we will invite them one by one to see if we can find some common ground," he said.

However, it was far from clear what appetite there would be among the creditors for fresh talks with trust on both sides apparently at rock bottom.

As the Syriza government celebrated a historic win, members of the party insisted that Europe now needed to listen to the people.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, a member of the Syriza central committee described the outcome as "an enormous victory".

Strathis Kouvelakis said: "We have secured a No vote with the banks closed since Monday and a lot of instability.

"We have been under siege and the reaction has been hysterical.

"There has been a climate of fear and hysteria."

Read more: Landslide vote 'a sign of things to come', left-wing Irish TDs claim

Mr Kouvelakis said Syriza was now focusing on a return to negotiations, but would not accept the previous deal that was offered.

"The Greek people have made it absolutely clear they will not accept this deal," he said.

Mr Kouvelakis, who teaches at King's College London, said it would now be up to the ECB as to whether Greek banks would reopen tomorrow.

"This will depend on a decision by the ECB and it will show how serious Europe is about proper negotiation," he told the Irish Independent.

Meanwhile, European investors were braced for tumbling stock markets today after Greeks overwhelmingly rejected the bailout terms of their creditors.

The No vote is set to ensure that Greece's creaking banking system will continue to be starved of liquidity, keeping them closed beyond the end of their mandated bank holiday, which is due to end tomorrow.

Sources insist the banks will be unable to open in the forseeable future and that ATMs will begin running out of cash by the middle of this week.

At least one of the four major banks was reported to have all but run out of cash, despite the imposition of capital controls which have limited ATM transactions to €60 a day.

The Bank of Greece was due to request an additional injection of emergency liquidity assistance from the ECB.

Read more: More uncertainty the only certainty as dust settles on that Greek vote

However, with voters rejecting the conditions of the country's paymasters, the ECB is almost certain to keep liquidity assistance frozen at nearly €88.4bn.

Mr Varoufakis was due to discuss extending capital controls measures with the Greece's senior bankers last night. Greek stock markets have also been suspended.

European Parliament president Martin Schulz warned a No vote in the referendum would mean Greeks could no longer use the euro, forcing them to print IOUs to pay public sector salaries and pensions, and introduce another currency:

Irish Independent

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