Greek prime minister calls referendum on bailout terms

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ATHENS. KAZINFORM - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced Saturday he has called a referendum for July 5 on the bailout terms that its international creditors have proposed to avoid the country's default.

The prime minister made the surprise decision ahead of the resumption of protracted talks on a bailout package by eurozone finance ministers later Saturday, as he seeks to break the deadlocked negotiations. But it remains uncertain whether Greece will be able to persuade its creditors to gain extended support and to bring the referendum into practice. The failure to reach an accord on the bailout could lead Athens to default on a June 30 payment to the International Monetary Fund. The European Union and the IMF have not yet fully agreed on fiscal reform proposals presented Monday by Greece, seeking pension cuts and higher value-added taxes at an earlier meeting. More than 180 approving votes will be necessary in the 300-seat parliament when Tsipras seeks approval for the referendum. His coalition has a 162-seat majority. Many opposition lawmakers are opposed to the popular vote. The premier denounced the creditors' fiscal reform proposals, saying in a televised national address that they will "promote social inequality." Tsipras' anti-austerity government rejected the creditors' offer of the extension of the bailout program by five months to November and 15.5 billion euros funding. The government said that Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis will meet with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi later in the day. Source: Kyodo

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