A first official projection of Greece’s referendum outcome, based on early counting, said that at least 61% of Greeks voted “no” to creditors’ demands on Sunday, an outcome that—if confirmed—would set the country on a collision course with the rest of the eurozone.
The projection, announced by the company Singular Logic, the official partner of Greece’s interior ministry in carrying out the referendum, was announced after some 20% of the vote had been counted.
“The estimate from Singular Logic is that the result in favor of ‘no’ will exceed 61%,” a spokesman for the organizing company said.
The official projection, if confirmed when all votes are counted, points to a heavier-than-expected victory for the “no” campaign against the austerity policies demanded by Greece’s creditors: the rest of the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. Voter turnout, based on the partial counting of votes, was reported at 58%.
Four opinion polls conducted during Sunday by private broadcasters had pointed to a narrower majority for the “no” camp.
The projected outcome would strengthen the domestic standing of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who campaigned vehemently for Greeks to reject lenders’ terms for further bailout funding.
Figures published by the interior ministry showed 61% of those whose ballots had been counted voting "No", against 39% voting "Yes".
Greece's governing Syriza party campaigned for a "No", saying the bailout terms were humiliating.
The "Yes" campaign warned this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone.
Some European officials had also said that a "No" would be seen as an outright rejection of talks with creditors.
But Greek government officials have insisted that a "No" vote would strengthen their hand and that they could rapidly strike a deal for fresh funding in resumed negotiations.
Greek banks will reopen by Tuesday, they say.
The country’s government faces a race to secure financing before a major bond held by the European Central Bank falls due on July 20. Default could precipitate an escalation of Greece’s already severe financial and economic paralysis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will fly to Paris Monday for talks on Greece with French President François Hollande, her spokesman said after polls closed in Greece.
The referendum appeared to have split Greece along lines of age, affluence and ideology. The young, many pensioners, the poor and those with pronounced left-wing or nationalist right-wing views were leaning toward a “no.” Middle-class, middle-aged and politically centrist voters were more likely to have voted “yes” to protect Greece’s place in the eurozone.
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