Just hours after voters backed his call to reject creditors’ demands for more austerity, Yanis Varoufakis announced he was standing down due to pressure from Greece’s ‘assorted partners’
Varoufakis, who had compared Greece’s creditors to terrorists said the Greek prime minister thought it would be better if he stood down, after pressure from European leaders.
Announcing his resignation in a blog post titled “Minister No More!” on Monday, Varoufakis wrote: “Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants [eurozone finance ministers], and assorted ‘partners’, for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.
“I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.”
The Independent report:
He said: “Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.”
He said Sunday’s referendum, where the Greek public voted overwhelming to reject a bailout deal proposed by the country’s creditors, would “stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.”
He added that he would wear the creditors’ “loathing with pride”.
Varoufakis previously threatened to resign if voters opted to except the bailout conditions saying he would rather “cut off his own arm” than sign a new deal if it did not include plans to restructure the country’s debt in an interview with Bloomberg.
The former academic, who once studied alongside House of Commons Speaker John Bercow at the University of Essex, said in a blog post weeks before Syriza stormed to victory in January that his greatest fear was that he “may turn into a politician”.
He said: “As an antidote to that virus I intend to write my resignation letter and keep it in my inside pocket, ready to submit it the moment I sense signs of losing the commitment to speak truth to power.”
Last week he said the troika’s, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, bailout plans were “clearly univable” after talks broke down.
He told Irish radio station RTE that the government had “bent over backwards to accommodate some rather strange demands by the institutions” and that it was their turn to compromise.
In a leaked letter seen by the Financial Times on Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras said that the country will accept all the bailout conditions with only a few minor changes.
Last night, the final tally in the referendum was 61.3 per cent No and 38.7 per cent Yes.
EU leaders, including Angela Merkel and François Hollande, will meet on Monday to decide what to do. They face accepting Greece’s demands for a bailout with fewer conditions or cutting it off.