2015 Greek bailout referendum
A referendum to decide whether Greece should accept the bailout conditions in the country's government-debt crisis proposed jointly by the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) on 25 June 2015 took place on 5 July 2015. The referendum was announced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the early morning of 27 June 2015 and ratified the following day by the Parliament and the President. It was the first referendum to be held since the republic referendum of 1974 and the only one in modern Greek history not to concern the form of government.
As a result of the referendum, the bailout conditions were rejected by a majority of over 61% to 39%, with the "No" vote winning in all of Greece's regions. The referendum results also forced the immediate resignation of New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras as party president because of the perceived negative result of the "Yes" choice, to which the conservative party and Samaras had committed themselves. Although winning the referendum, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis also resigned and was replaced on 6 July by Euclid Tsakalotos.
Despite the result of the referendum, the government of Tsipras reached an agreement on 13 July 2015 with the European authorities for a three-year-bailout with even harsher austerity conditions than the ones already rejected by voters. This represented a "drastic turnaround" for Prime Minister Tsipras' position as he had been elected in an anti-austerity platform. Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis characterised the harshness of the deal as a new Treaty of Versailles and "Greece’s Terms of Surrender". In July and August, Tsipras was able to get the new austerity packages and the entire bailout agreement approved by the Parliament, but had to rely in the pro-European Union opposition parties as around 40 MPs of the major ruling party abstained or voted against the measures. This triggered the September 2015 snap election, where Tsipras was re-elected albeit with an historical low turnout. The second Tsipras government was marked by an intense austerity policy in the context of the third bailout to Greece.
Greece officially exited from the bailout programs in August 2018 (three years after the referendum) and the Tsipras government announced some social cohesion measures such as increases in pensions and aid packages for low-income groups. The economy has also seen growth, albeit at a slow pace. However, these developments have not diminished criticism levelled at the Syriza government for its U-turn and the huge economic and social cost of austerity policies it imposed.