Greece is playing Sunday its future, and the fate of the first radical left government of the EU, in a referendum that will be undecided as a yes or no to the current functioning of European institutions.
Nearly 10 million Greek voters began voting after the opening of business at 07:00 local time.
The last four polls published not promise anyone a triumph: three give the advantage to yes, a non, but with respective loans by 1.4 points at most.
The referendum comes after five months of ultimately fruitless discussions, Eurogroups in exceptional emergency summits, between the Greek government, formed in January by the radical left Syriza Alexis Tsipras and the right-wing sovereignist ANEL, and the country’s creditors EU, IMF and ECB.
These were granted to Greece since 2010 240 billion euros of aid loans or promises, but have not paid for nearly a year.
Because Athens refuses to consent in exchange for certain reforms that it considers socially too difficult.
After an umpteenth failure of the talks, Mr Tsipras announced at midnight on June 27 referendum Sunday which raises a question all the more convoluted that Greece is no longer under any aid program since 30 evening.
“Should we accept the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the Eurogroup of 25 June? ”
Voters could see this financial plan, very technical, as on websites.
Initially, the government seemed Tsipras hope that, through a non that would at least half of the Greeks behind him, he could simply return stronger negotiation.
But creditors have preferred to dramatize the debate.
Some hope no doubt, as acknowledged by the European Parliament President Martin Schulz, the consultation and provide the opportunity to end the “era Syriza” and risk of contagion to other rebellious countries a sometimes fragile EU.
An agreement on Monday?
To push yes, they therefore have not as the equivalent to a Greek exit from the euro, which 74% of Greeks are attached, according to a poll published Friday against only 15% who would return to the drachma well.
All this blitz takes place in a strange atmosphere: the frightened Greeks withdrew as much money as possible last weekend, to the point that banks were closed a week, and withdrawals of money to distributors are limited until 60 euros per person per day.
But they hoard this money, still slowing the economy, and deserting most stores. Except feed where they target mass starches, pasta or condensed milk, emptying some shelves.
In this tense financial situation, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis denied in full Saturday night, citing “malicious rumors”, a Financial Times article mentions a 30% capture project amounts higher savings accounts 8,000 euros .
After the preparations – posters, newsletters, routing urns, developing websites sides – particularly fast, the two groups held two major meetings Friday night in Athens to be counted.
Match virtually nil, 25,000 in non, Alexis Tsipras asked to show that they want to “live with dignity in Europe”, and 22,000 in yes.
Saturday was the day of the break before the battle.
This did not stop Mr. Varoufakis only member of the government to make it clear that he will resign if yes vote, accusing the Spanish newspaper El Mundo creditors of “terrorism.”
But in parallel, he told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung “expect that Monday, we had an agreement,” regardless of the result.
At Athens airport Saturday afternoon, a plane from Cyprus led the Greek expatriate voters.
Kokkinos Kostas, 60, had made the journey ‘purpose to bring “her voice to yes.
Thanasis Hadzilacos, Professor of the Open University of Cyprus, vote no thought, but felt that the question “does not make sense,” but he first wanted to “consult his friends in Athens.”
Saturday night, has not received the support of several hundred people in London, Dublin or Lisbon.