Greeks began voting in a referendum Sunday to decide whether they should stay in the euro zone risking severe austerity in return for an international bailout. Leaders of the influential Orthodox Church have urged a “yes” vote, going against the nation’s first openly atheist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
“On Sunday we should all send a message of democracy and dignity to the world,” Tsipras, an atheist unlike his predecessors, told tens of thousands of citizens, encouraging them to vote “no.” according toReuters. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said he will step down if the “yes” vote wins.
However, leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church, to which a majority of the citizens have affiliation, have called for a “yes” vote, to remain in the euro zone.
The referendum was taking place a week after Greece announced it was closing its banks as it had failed to repay the IMF after the end of its bailout program.
If the nation decides to quit the euro zone, Greece could face a major financial crisis, analysts have said. Greece owes billions of euros to the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and 18 euro-zone countries.
Polls show voters are split 50-50 on whether to agree to the bailout.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post