Saturday, June 27, 2015

What Will Greeks Vote on? The Referendum Question

by Nikos Chrysoloras & Paul Tugwell


June 27, 2015

Greek lawmakers are set to decide at a midnight vote Saturday whether to approve a proposal by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government to hold a referendum on July 5, which could decide the country’s future in the euro area.

If parliament gives its nod, Greek voters will be asked to rule on two complex draft documents that detail a proposal by the country’s creditors to unlock aid of as much as 15.5 billion euros for Greece in return for sales-tax increases and pension reforms. An agreement on the package has remained elusive after five months of contentious negotiations that have left the country at the brink of default when the bailout expires on Tuesday.

The hastily called vote poses significant logistical challenges that make it doubtful it could be held as early as next Sunday, experts said.

“First of all there’s an organizational and logistical challenge, to organize a vote in such a short notice,” said Aristides Hatzis, an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens. “Second, there’s also the question on whether the offer on which people will vote will still be on the table by the time of the referendum,” he said in a phone conversation on Saturday. “If the referendum is held indeed, which is not certain, it risks being a charade.”


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