ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece will hold a referendum on July 5 to decide whether the country should accept or reject a bailout agreement offered by creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a late-night address to the nation.
Tsipras moved to call a referendum hours after flying back from Brussels, where repeated rounds of negotiations with European and IMF creditors failed to produce an agreement. He said the creditors’ proposal heaped “unbearable burdens” on the nation and urged Greeks to give a “sound response” to the “ultimatum”.
“These proposals, which clearly violate the European rules and the basic rights to work, equality and dignity show that the purpose of some of the partners and institutions was not a viable agreement for all parties, but possibly the humiliation of an entire people,” Tsipras said.
Athens will ask for an extension of its bailout agreement, which ends on June 30, by a few days in light of the referendum, he said. Greek parliament will convene on Saturday to approve the cabinet’s decision to call a referendum, he said.
“Greeks, with this blackmail to accept an austere and humiliating austerity programme which has no end and no prospect of getting back on our feet, I call upon you to decide patriotically and proudly as dictated by the proud history of Greeks,” Tsipras said.
Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Michele Kambas, Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Christian Plumb