Greece`s radical left government suggested it would resign if it fails to get its way in a make-or-break referendum Sunday that could decide the country`s financial future.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the government “may very well” quit in a radio interview Thursday in which he also said “we are on a war footing” to ensure the rushed referendum happens in time.
International creditors and markets are stepping back after days of dizzying drama over the Greek crisis to watch the outcome of the consultation at the weekend.
Ordinary Greeks, though, are left in financial limbo under capital controls imposed all this week to stem a bank run. They are reduced to 60-euro ($67) daily ATM withdrawal caps, adding hardship to lives already ground down by years of austerity. Although Athens insists the referendum is narrowly on tough austerity conditions attached to a bailout that expired on Tuesday, EU leaders say it is a vote on whether Greece wants to remain in the euro.
The Greek government led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is fiercely campaigning for a `No` vote, believing rejecting the bailout conditions would strengthen its hand in negotiations with creditors.
On Tuesday, it failed to repay 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to one of those creditors, the International Monetary Fund.
Athens is in danger of failing in arrears to two other major creditors, the European Union and the European Central Bank, if it also fails to pay 3.5 billion euros on July 20.
EU leaders, including those of Greece`s biggest creditors Germany, France and Italy, have all said they would view a `No` result in the referendum as a rejection of Europe.