Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that if Greek citizens vote to accept terms for EU financial aid in Sunday’s referendum, he might resign.
The Greek parliament voted “yes” last week by an overwhelming majority to hold a referendum to decide on whether to accept the bailout terms handed to the country by its international creditors.
Greece will hold the referendum on July 5 over the terms imposed by Western lenders, including the European Central Bank (ECB), the EU Commission and International Monetary Fund (IMF),
Speaking to a national TV channel on Monday, Tsipras told the Greek public that he will not stay in his post and oversee the cuts if the bailout is accepted in the referendum.
"If the Greek people want to proceed with austerity plans in perpetuity, which will leave us unable to lift our head... we will respect it, but we will not be the ones to carry it out," he said.
Tsipras said “the bigger the turnout and the wider the no-vote to that deal, the bigger the possibility for a substantial restart of negotiations, so that we can take a course of viability and reason.”
Saying that other EU member countries want Greece to stay in Euro-zone, Tsipras told “I don’t believe that they want to kick us out of the euro and they won’t. They won’t, because the cost would be huge.”
During the television broadcast, Tsipras also said that Greece’s fight against austerity will be an example to those European societies which have been suffering under austerity policies and trying to find another route to economic recovery.
Due to Greece and its creditors not reaching an agreement Greek banks have shut down for this week.
Greece is indebted to the EU and the IMF to the tune almost 240 billion euros, a burden which has worsened significantly since the eurozone crisis seriously hit the country’s economy in 2009.
Athens has been negotiating with the IMF and ECB over the past four months for the release of some 7.2 billion euros in aid.