Greek voters have issued a surprisingly loud and clear statement of support to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and defiance to European authorities and the International Monetary Fund.
In the referendum celebrated Sunday, an overwhelming majority of more than 61 percent of Greeks, with an impressive 22 percent lead over the 39 percent of Greeks who voted yes, have said no to the bailout deal proposed by the country’s creditors.
Opinion polls before the referendum showed the difference between the Yes and No camps as too close to call, and therefore the strong majority won by Tsipras comes as a shock to many observers. The European authorities should consider the results of the referendum a wake-up call – the Greeks have renewed a mandate to Tsipras and his Syriza-led government to adopt a firm position in negotiations, and unambiguously shown that they are ready for Grexit – the forced exit of Greece from the Eurozone and perhaps even the European Union itself – if the negotiations fail.
Grexit could have catastrophic consequences for Greece. But the consequences for the European Union could be equally catastrophic, because Grexit would establish a dangerous precedent.