SYRIZA’s Tsakalotos says referendum was called to stave off government collapse


The SYRIZA-led government decided that a referendum was the only way forward as the proposal submitted by Greece’s international creditors before talks collapsed on Friday “would never have been ratified by Parliament and would have brought down the government,” Alternate Minister of International Economic Relations and negotiator Euclid Tsakalotos told Skai television on Friday morning.

Tsakalotos said that the Greek economy needs a “shock of optimism” with the removal, once and for all, of fears that Greece could be ousted from the eurozone.

“Anyone voting ‘Yes’ on Sunday will also be voting for the person who will implement the program,” Tsakalotos said of a new bailout deal that is at the heart of the plebiscite, conceding that any new agreement that may be reached between the two sides even in the event of the ‘No’ vote prevailing will contain tough austerity measures.

“If the people vote ‘No,’ [ECB chief] Mario Draghi has suggested by his stance so far that he will wait until Wednesday for a deal to be reached with the Europeans,” Tsakalotos said.

Tsakalotos was also critical of the European institutions, saying that “Europe will not go far because, as it is, it cannot be tolerated,” further warning that if pressure from European officials for a ‘Yes’ vote prevails, this would be a “very bad thing for Europe.”