The announcement by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of a referendum on the bailout proposal by the international creditors has raised a banking panic among Greeks and drawn outrage from politicians.
There are lines outside banks in all major cities as Greeks in panic try to draw as much money as possible from their accounts, fearing the imposition of capital controls should Greece default on its debts. Capital controls were used in the Greek Cypriot administration in 2013 to prevent the flight of funds from the country which also faced a financial crisis.
Antonis Samaras, leader of conservative right New Democracy declared his outrage at the use of a referendum. In a statement Saturday morning, Samaras noted that "Mr. Tsipras brought the country to a complete impasse, between an unacceptable agreement and the exit from Europe."
According to Samaras the "unacceptable agreement of the institutions has only slight differences with the one he (Tsipras) proposed a few days ago".
He accused Tsipras being "fatal, weak and irresponsible and accused him of isolating the country from Europe and dividing the Greek people.
"The European identity is Greece's conquest and New Democracy obviously supports the front of democracy and Europe. It supports Greece's European prospects, because any other positions would be disastrous for our country," he stated.
Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis accused Tsipras of failure at the bailout talks, and "deciding to lead the lobby of the drachma, Alexis Tsipras and Panos Kammenos decided to get the country out of the eurozone and to throw the country off the cliff. They were proved incapable of making a decent agreement for growth and social justice. We will struggle all together for a powerful Greece in Europe's heart."
"We will fight together for a strong Greece in the heart of Europe" said the leader of Potami.
PASOK newly elected leader Fofi Gennimata said "a referendum is not needed. Since Mr Tsipras cannot take responsible decisions, he ought to resign and let the citizens decide through elections for the future of the country."
She added that "the government rolls over the responsibilities for the negotiation's impasse to the Greek people," and accused the government of trying to trap the Greek people in a fake and divisive dilemma.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a televised speech addressing the Greek people early Saturday called for a referendum on July 5 so that Greek citizens can decide whether to accept or reject the terms of the creditors' proposal.
Creditors on Friday proposed that Greece accept a five-month bailout extension along with economic reforms that included cuts to pensions, higher taxes, higher value-added tax, and labor market reform.