Greece Set to Vote in Crucial Referendum

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Greek protesters hold a placard on July 3 reading 'No' during a demonstration calling for a 'No' vote in today's referendum in Athens (Agence France-Presse Photo)


Athens:  Greece heads to the crucial referendum today which could decide not only its own future but also that of Europe. The question people will be asked is whether they accept the offer made by European Institutions on June 25. Nearly 10 million Greek citizens have the right vote. For the referendum to be valid, at least 40 per cent should cast their votes.

But line between the "yes" and the "no" vote has blurred as Greeks head to the ballots.

For most, a "yes" vote implies a "yes" to Europe but it does not imply "yes" to austerity. Voters of the "no" camp say they're saying "no" to austerity imposed by its creditors but don't wish to say "no" to Europe.

"Both "yes" and "no" means the same thing to me," says a kiosk owner near the old city of Athens. "There should be additional measures before we sign on and that is a good thing".

"Yes" or "no" are the same thing but "yes" is a bit better option, says another person. For an Athenian book seller, it's "yes" to Europe "yes" to common currency but with proper negotiations.

Greek's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has written a book called "How to Talk About the Economy to My Doctor", an attempt perhaps to make the general public understand the technicalities of the crisis.

Not everyone may have read his book but it's through their hardships that Greek people know that the situation is not quite right for them.

"Rationally speaking it is better to be in a protected environment rather than to navigate in the open seas of contemporary, unfettered, capitalist, globalisation," says Dmitiri Sotiropoulos, Political Scientist, University of Athens. Mr Sotiropoulos says many started with a confident "no" on Tuesday but have veered towards the yes. But PM Tsipras' rally gave another boost to the "no".

The real division seems to be this: the "yes" camp wants the current government to be less aggressive in its negotiations with its creditors whereas the no camp seems to have decided that defiance is the only way out of this impasse.


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