Athens: Greeks awoke on Monday to the stark reality of the country’s accelerating crisis — shuttered banks and ATMs with little cash — hours after they voted resoundingly to reject more austerity measures in exchange for another bailout. The results — 61 percent voted “no,” compared with 39 percent for “yes” — left the bankrupt country’s future in the European Union and its euro currency uncertain.
Thousands of jubilant government supporters celebrated in Syntagma Square in front of Parliament, waving Greek flags and chanting “No, no, no!”
The margin of victory for “no” was far wider than expected. But as celebrations died down early Monday, Greece entered a second week of severe restrictions on financial transactions and faced the prospect of even limited amounts of cash drying out, with no prospect of an immediate infusion. Greece imposed the restrictions to stem a bank run after the vote was called and its bailout program expired.
Asian markets mostly fell Monday, as economists said the markets were not expecting such a decisive “no” vote and that could send stocks downward.
Besieged by a prolonged recession, high unemployment and banks dangerously low on capital, Greece defaulted on an International Monetary Fund loan repayment last week, becoming the first developed nation to do so. Now some analysts wonder if Greece is so starved of cash that it could be forced to start issuing its own currency and become the first country to leave the 19-member eurozone, established in 1999.