Athens, Greece – “Historically, Greeks have said ‘No’ to conquerors,” argued a young man outside a polling station on Sunday afternoon.
As excessive as the young man’s statement sounds, Greeks voted “No” in a referendum on Sunday to protest against five years of severe austerity measures imposed by the country’s creditors.
“I voted ‘No’ because I have been unemployed for three years and my husband suffered a deep salary cut. We want a better future for our kids and for generations to come,” a middle aged woman said after casting her ballot.
A majority of 61 percent voted “No”, a resounding rejection of creditor terms. Thousands welcomed the outcome with great joy in the capital Athens, waving Greek flags and dancing at Syntagma Square in front of the parliament. Greeks hope that their message is loud and clear – enough is enough.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, himself, asked voters to turn down the creditors’ latest proposal, with a view to negotiate a better one. He promised to achieve an improved deal in 48 hours after the referendum’s outcome. But his European partners don’t seem to agree.
The country’s political opposition have warned against a ‘Grexit’ and a minority of Greek voters are afraid of the possibility of returning to Drachma (the original national currency of Greece).
Greece has not repaid the IMF, no deal has been signed with its creditors yet and capital controls have been imposed since June 29. Heading to actual default, the country is holding its breath.