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Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis Resigns Following "No" Vote In Bailout Referendum

Yanis Varoufakis said that he had been made aware of a "preference" among eurozone negotiators for his "absence" from future talks in a statement on his blog. On Sunday, Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected sweeping new austerity measures, which were being pushed as a requirement before Greece receives further bailout funds. BuzzFeed News reporter Jim Waterson is in Athens.

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What We Know So Far

  • In Greece, 61% of voters said "no" to a new round of austerity measures in exchange for further bailout funds from European creditors.

  • Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis appeared on television to celebrate the overwhelming success of the "no" vote, before announcing his resignation Monday morning.

  • At midnight Tuesday, Greece became the first developed country to miss an International Monetary Fund payment. It was for roughly 1.5 billion euros.

  • Tsipras continued to negotiate with European officials last week, though German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she wanted to wait for Sunday's referendum to conclude before talks moved any further.

  • Greece shuttered banks for a few days last week and strictly limited how much money could be removed from cash machines.

Updates

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Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned, one day after the country overwhelmingly voted for “No” in Sunday’s bailout referendum.

In a statement, titled "Minister No More!" and posted on his blog on Monday morning, Varoufakis said he was made aware that of a "certain preference" among some Eurozone negotiators for his "absence" from any future talks shortly after the referendum results were announced.

"For this reason, I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today," he said, adding that he would "wear the creditors' loathing with pride."

Varoufakis' full resignation statement:

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup's 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favor of the needy, and real reforms.

Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted 'partners', for my… 'absence' from its meetings; an idea that 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.

And I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride.

We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.

The superhuman effort to honor the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.
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Writing in Greek, Finance Minister Varoufakis said "the position of Greece in the euro is non-negotiable" and rejected the idea of introducing a parallel currency.

Η θέση της Ελλάδας στο € είναι αδιαπραγμάτευτη. Η ρευστότητα θα επιστρέψει με την συμφωνία. Η Ευρώπη δεν θα αφεθεί σε παράλληλα νομίσματα

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a series of tweets that the vote was a "great victory."

Today's #referendum doesn't have winners or losers. It is a great victory, in and of itself. #Greece #Greferendum

He said the vote doesn't mean the country is going to break with Europe.

The mandate you've given me does not call for a break with Europe, but rather gives me greater negotiating strength. #Greece #Greferendum

But that it gives Greece a bigger voice at the negotiating table.

The Greek ppl responded to real question at hand: What kind of Europe do we want? The answer: A Europe of solidarity & #democracy. #Greece

Tsipras added that his main priority is ensuring Greece has economic stability.

Our immediate priority is to restore our banking system's functioning & economic stability. #Greece

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President of the European Council Donald Tusk says he has called a summit for Tuesday evening to discuss the result of the Greek vote.

I have called a #EuroSummit Tuesday evening at 18h to discuss situation after referendum in #Greece

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Merkel is planning on meeting with French President Francois Hollande to discuss a solution for Greece in light of the vote, Bloomberg News reported.

The leaders plan "to jointly assess the situation after the Greek referendum and to address the continuation of Franco-German close cooperation in this matter," according to Bloomberg.

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Samaras had been in favor of a "Yes" vote.

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As of tomorrow, with this very generous 'No' that the Greek people have given us -- ignoring the fear created with closed banks and by the media -- we will try to cooperate with our partners and we will invite them one by one to see if we can find some common ground. And we will try to be positive.
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Prime Minister Tsipras has spoken via telephone with French President François Hollande, according to Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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Large crowds have gathered in Syntagma Square in Athens ahead of the result.

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Supporters of the "No" vote chanted "Oxi" as they awaited the final tally.

Crowds build in Syngtagma Square. Chants of OXI. #greece

There was a celebratory mood in the square as the "No" vote maintained the lead in early results.

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Central Athens is currently 50/50 Yes and No. But that's about as good as it gets for the pro-EU side.

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A number of unofficial opinion polls of voters show the numbers are extremely close, but the "Oxi" or "No" vote may have a slight lead.

#Greece opinion poll overview. "OXI" slightly ahead. To be taken with a grain of salt, wait for the actual counting.

Another frm Skai TV puts No on 49% - 54% and Yes on 46% - 51%

No exit polls. But one pollster, MARC, based on phone sample today of around 2000ppl, puts yes 45.5-50.5%, no 49.5-54.5%. 2.5% error margin

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The question the country is voting on is:

"Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted?"

The first document is titled 'Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond' and the second 'Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis'. "Not approved/NO "Approved/YES"

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Graffiti sprung up around Athens as a medium through which Greeks conveyed how they felt over the past couple of weeks.

Found in #Athens..unsurprisingly. See more cool #art here: http://t.co/ftSswV7mhe #graffiti #lovers

A recurring theme that resonates in the artwork is one where Greeks feel that Europe's richer countries are pressurizing Greece into making cuts.

Angst towards Germany, Europe's biggest economy, is apparent as Angela Merkel features in various murals.

Show must go on... Graffiti art in ath #greece #imf #merkel

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Thousands of Greeks are sharing their vote on social media using the hashtag #Oxi (no) or #Nai (yes).

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They are attaching the hashtags to photos of them voting.

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As people cast their votes across Greece, people rallied in support of the country in other nations. This protest occurred in Madrid, Spain. Spain has faced its own economic troubles, and many leftists in the country are hoping Syriza will succeed.

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This old Monty Python sketch, about a soccer match between German and Greek philosophers, is doing the rounds on the internet as a good explainer for the current financial mess.

View this video on YouTube

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As the Washington Post writes, the sketch captures the philosophic movements that have shaped political and economic thinking in each country.

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The French Ambassador to Washington D.C. says his country is committed to ensuring Greece remains in the eurozone.

Whatever the result of the Greek referendum, France will do its utmost so that Greece remains member of the EU and of the Eurozone.

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Reporting from Athens, BuzzFeed News' Jim Waterson says Yes voters tend to be wealthier and more fluent in English but also a lot more media-shy. The final outcome, however, might be decided by voter turnout on the No camp.

A BIT OF SPECULATION: A lot in Greece depends on whether No voters bother to turn out, Yes voters have been quieter and are more media-shy.

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This person took a photo of their "Nai" or "Yes" vote.

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Polling stations pretty busy: Yes voters seem wealthier, more likely to speak English. And less likely to talk to journalists.

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Our news reporter Jim Waterson is in Athens, where, for today only, a number of public services are free of charge.

Toll roads have also been declared free, according to The Guardian.

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Although the government earlier this week decided to impose a 60 euros per day limit on ATM withdrawals, reports are circulating that cash machines across the country have run out of 20-euro bills.

That means ordinary Greeks can effectively only take out 50 euros per day from ATMs across the country. As it stands, the country's banks have less than a billion euros in their coffers, which officials say should be enough to carry the country through the weekend. However, come Monday the country is dependent on the European Central Bank (ECB) to continue pumping money into the depleted coffers of Greek banks.

Greeks only allows to withdraw €60/day cash but seen lots of ATMs in Athens only giving out €50 as they've run out of €20 notes.

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Greeks headed to the polls early Sunday morning to vote on a major bailout referendum that could determine their country's future in the eurozone.

Polling stations opened Sunday morning in Greece at 7 a.m. At issue was whether the country would accept a financial bailout — which was crafted by the country's creditors — that also includes a range of new austerity measures.

Greece is mired in debt, but made history Tuesday when it defaulted by failing to make a roughly 1.5 billion euro payment to the International Monetary Fund. Greece is the first developed nation to miss a payment to the IMF.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged voters to reject the referendum. He has also referred to the bailout as "blackmail" and said rejecting it would not jeopardize Greece's position in the eurozone — or the group of 19 countries that use the euro for currency.

Despite Tsipras's assurances on Wednesday, Greece's eroding financial position has fueled fears that the Mediterranean nation may exit the eurozone.

Greece previously accepted a bailout in 2010. That bailout came with a set of austerity measures including cuts to government salaries, bans on early retirement, and tax hikes.

Tsipras, the leader political party Syriza, was elected in January on a wave of frustration with Greece's economic turmoil, particularly austerity.

Ahead of Sunday's vote the Greek premier assured his compatriots in Athens that a 'no' vote would not mean Greece's exit from the Euro, but would allow the country to remain in the monetary union "with dignity."

Almost 10 million Greeks are eligible to cast their votes on Sunday, but the final result is made even more unpredictable by those living abroad, many of whom are expected to return to Greece and vote in favour of the terms of a new bailout package.

Final results are expected from 9 p.m. local time.