Finance minister quits
ATHENS, Greece — Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned Monday, saying he was told shortly after Greece’s decisive referendum result that some other eurozone finance ministers and the country’s other creditors would appreciate his not attending the ministers’ meetings.
Varoufakis said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had judged that his resignation “might help achieve a deal” and that he was leaving the finance ministry for that reason.
“I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride,” Varoufakis said in his announcement.
Greeks voted overwhelmingly to reject creditors’ proposal of more austerity measures in return for rescue loans, in the country’s first referendum in 41 years Sunday.
With his brash style and fondness for frequent media appearances at the start of his tenure at the ministry when the new government was formed in January, Varoufakis had visibly annoyed many of the eurozone’s finance ministers during Greece’s debt negotiations.
Tsipras was elected on promises to repeal the austerity demanded in return for a bailout from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund, and negotiations broke down late last month after dragging on unsuccessfully for five months.
With his hight-stakes gamble to call a referendum on creditor proposals with just a week’s notice, Tsipras aimed to show creditors that Greeks, whose economy has been shattered and who face spiralling unemployment and poverty, have had enough and that the austerity prescribed isn’t working.
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