Greece finance minister resigns amid “NO” vote

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Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned from office, hours after voters backed his call to reject creditors’ demands for more austerity in a referendum.

Voters in Greek delivered an overwhelming “No” vote in a referendum on whether to accept more austerity measures in return for new bailout cash.

Varoufakis said resignation could help Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reach an agreement with creditors to the country’s debt crisis.

“Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my…‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement,” Varoufakis wrote on his personal blog on Monday.

“For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today,” he continued. “I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”

“I consider it my duty to help [Prime Minister] Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.”

The resignation comes just hours after Greece voted on against Europe’s latest bailout offer, raising the prospect that the country could now suffer a worse economic disaster and lose its place in the euro.

More than 60% of Greeks had voted to reject the demands for more austerity from the ECB, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

As thousands of Greeks took to the streets celebrate the referendum result on Sunday evening, Tsipras said they had “made a very brave choice”.

“The mandate you gave me is not the mandate of a rupture with Europe, but a mandate to strengthen our negotiating position to seek a viable solution,” he added.

He added that he was willing to go back to the negotiating table on Monday, noting that an International Monetary Fund (IMF) assessment published this week confirmed that restructuring Greece’s €240bn (£170bn) euro debt was necessary.

Meanwhile, European Union leaders were scrambling for a response on Monday, following the overwhelming “No” vote in Sunday’s referendum.

Global financial markets have fallen over fears that Greece is heading for an exit from the euro.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is to meet to discuss whether to raise its emergency cash support for Greek banks, which are reportedly just days away from running out of funds and collapsing.

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