Sun Jul 5, 2015 12:8PM
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras waves while leaving the polling station after casting his ballot in the Greek referendum on July 5, 2015, Athens. ©AFP
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras waves while leaving the polling station after casting his ballot in the Greek referendum on July 5, 2015, Athens. ©AFP

Greece’s prime minister says the country is determined to decide its own destiny in the eurozone as citizens vote in a crucial referendum on whether to accept the terms and conditions of a bailout by international creditors.

Alexis Tsipras made the remarks on Sunday as the Greek people cast their ballots in the referendum whose result will determine whether the nation accepts harsher austerity in exchange for more rescue loans.

"No one can ignore the message of determination of a people taking its destiny in its own hands," Tsipras said after casting his ballot in the capital, Athens.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece speaks to reporters after casting his ballot in the Greek referendum, Athens, July 5, 2015. ©AFP

The premier also emphasized that the Greeks were only voting to live "with dignity" and predicted "a new chapter for Europe" based on "democracy and solidarity" in the continent.

Meanwhile, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis also accused Athens' creditors - the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - of economic "terrorism" for raising fears of a potential Greece exit from the eurozone.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis ©AFP

Nearly 10 million Greeks are eligible to take part in the plebiscite. 

The Tsipras administration believes a 'No' vote will exert pressure on the international creditors to provide Athens with a better, more economically viable deal.

Athens received two bailout packages in 2010 and 2012 worth a total of €240 billion ($272 billion) from its creditors following its 2009 economic crisis. In return for the bailouts, Athens committed to implementing harsh austerity measures, which sparked public outcry.

JR/HSN/SS