Greek PM confirms referendum will go ahead and calls for no vote

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Reuters/ Cordon Press
VOTE NO BANNER: Hung up by staff in the Greek Finance Ministry.

GREECE will go ahead with its referendum on Sunday July 5, announced Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday afternoon (July 1) in a televised national address. His announcement followed intense speculation that he would scrap the vote in concession to European leaders.
In his address he urged Greek voters to vote no and reject the deal on further austerity in exchange for debt relief put on the table by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
But the Council of Europe, which examines legal standards, has criticised the referendum question to be put to Greek voters, saying it lacks clarity, and the short notice with which the poll has been called.
In a letter to Greece’s creditors that emerged earlier, Tsipras has made several concessions to their demands for further austerity, which would be in exchange for the third bailout requested yesterday.
But there remain points of disagreement between the two sides. In particular, the euro group wants Syriza to make immediate cuts to a top-up benefit received by Greek pensioners. While Tsipras has already conceded that it can be phased out by 2020 – or according to the letter published on Wednesday July 1, by 2019 – his government won’t make cuts now.
Regardless of Tsipras’s new overtures to the creditors, the German Chancellor has insisted there can now be no new discussions until Sunday’s referendum is out the way.

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