Greece Debt Crisis: Citizens Vote In Referendum On Financial Bailout

With the fate of Greece’s economic and political future hanging in the balance, Greek voters made their way to the polls on Sunday to cast their ballots on a referendum that would ultimately determine whether the country accepts the bailout deal proposed by the nation’s creditors. Not since the 1974 referendum, which established Greece as a republic rather than a monarchy, have the citizens of Greece faced such a monumental decision.

Despite the importance of this referendum, which could ultimately determine whether debt-ridden Greece remains in the eurozone, many residents aren’t aware of the power their ballots can have on the country as a whole, and many are also confused upon reading the question on the ballot, which includes the statement below.

“Should the deal draft that was put forward by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the Eurogroup of June 25, 2015, and consists of two parts, that together form a unified proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled “Reforms for the Completion of the Current Program and Beyond” and the second “Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis.”

According to reports by the New York Times, Erika Papamichalopoulo, a 27-year-old citizen of Athens, described her own confusion about the referendum and her doubts to the implications of her vote.

“No one is really telling us what it means,” Papamichalopoulo said, “No one is saying what will happen to us if we say yes, or what will happen to us if we say no.”

The Huffington Post reports Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for the referendum earlier in the week after negotiations to appropriate 7.2 billion euros for Athens stalled between Greece and the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank. The prime minister has been urging Greeks citizens to vote against the bailout plan proposed by the creditors, a plan that includes harsh austerity policies that Tsipras fears will further aggravate Greece’s current economic downturn. However, a “no” vote would most likely threaten Greece’s standing in the eurozone. A “yes” vote would allow Greece to receive the financial aid that the country desperately needs.

Since 2010, Greece has received more than 240 billion euros in financial aid, but has been unable to rebound from the economic crisis that gripped the world in 2007-2008. The current financial crisis has left the country drowning in a myriad of debts, and Sunday’s referendum seems to be the most important outcome that would determine the economic future of Greece.

[Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images]