Twitter is abuzz this Friday evening over the shocking news that Greece’s Alexis Tsipras will soon address the nation and call for a referendum for Sunday, July 5.
— johanna jaufer (@johannajaufer) June 26, 2015
PM Tsipras communicated with former PM and ND leader Samaras. Confirmed referendum & discussion tomorrow in parliament. /via @g_evgenidis
— The Greek Analyst (@GreekAnalyst) June 26, 2015
And so it is. #Greece 's Skai tv reports Tsipras will call referendum
— Alessandro Speciale (@aspeciale) June 26, 2015
This comes after Angela Merkel had pleaded with Tsipras directly to accept the offer on the table, indicating that she would not be able to make it any better at tomorrow’s scheduled meeting of Europe’s finance ministers, which was being billed as a last-ditch effort to patch things up.
At first blush, this looks like a smart move by Tsipras: it offers him a chance at doing an end-run around his more strident leftist allies who are hell-bent on rejecting any sort of deal with the EU if it means making any sorts of painful cuts to social programs. Staying in Europe and on the euro remains a popular proposition among Greeks, so an up-down vote on the Troika’s proposal could gain Tsipras the mandate he needs to pull his country through this crisis.
Tsipras has been described as enigmatic and unpredictable, even by European leaders who have closely interacted with him over the last five months, so we can’t yet know to what extent he is a pragmatist vs. an ideologue. But as things stand right now, we surmise it would take a very committed ideologue to plunge his country into truly cataclysmic penury.
Of course, nothing has been officially announced yet at time of writing. Tsipras has been meeting with his cabinet, and will hold parliamentary debates tomorrow. And of course, a lot can (and undoubtedly will) happen between today and next Sunday. The Greeks are known for their drama, after all.