This referendum is a sham

by Lorenzo Piccoli

Three days ago I wrote that “the Greek government had no choice but to reject the last bout of austerity” and I still think I was right. I only wish this decision would have been taken differently.

The referendum called upon by the Greek government is a complete sham. It has been decided in a night and scheduled in six days. Upon announcing it, the government has asked to vote No, threatening resignation, collapse of national dignity, and various other disasters. The official website of the referendum does not provide any balanced information on the context, the franchise, and the procedures for voting: instead, it provides plenty of arguments for voting No to a question which is about a bail-out plan that does not exist any longer. In any case, it is not clear what would happen should voters decide for Yes or No. Meanwhile, the government continues to negotiate, thus changing the context surrounding this decisive vote.

Under these conditions this is not a referendum: it is a plebiscite. It doesn’t take an expert to recognize that such consultations fall way short of the most basic international standards. The last vote of this kind has been held in Crimea in 2014: that referendum has been deemed as “unacceptable” by all 28-EU States. There is no reason why this should be treated differently.