Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected creditors' demands for more economic austerity in return for rescue loans in a critical referendum Sunday, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted the vote would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal.
Thousands of government supporters gathered in central Athens in celebration, waving Greek flags and chanting "No, No, No."
On Monday morning, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned, saying he was told shortly after the Greek referendum result that some eurozone finance ministers and Greece's other creditors would prefer he not attend the ministers' meetings.
Varoufakis issued an announcement Monday saying Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had judged that Varoufakis' resignation "might help achieve a deal" and that he was leaving the finance ministry for this reason.
Varoufakis had visibly annoyed many of the eurozone's finance ministers during Greece's debt negotiations. He said in a statement released by the Finance Ministry that it is crucial there is a "proper resolution" involving debt restructuring immediately.
"I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride," he said, adding that he fully supports the prime minister and the government. No replacement has been named.
Deapite the resignation of Varoufakis, the vote was a decisive victory for Tsipras who gambled the future of his five-month-old left-wing government on the vote. The opposition accused him of jeopardizing the country's membership in the 19-nation club that uses the euro, and said that a "yes" vote was about keeping the common currency.
The final results of Greece's bailout referendum are in, with all 19,159 precincts reporting. The "No" side won with a higher than expected 61.31 percent, while "Yes" got 38.69 percent.
A total of 6.16 million Greeks voted in Sunday's referendum, or 62.5 percent of eligible voters. The poll needed a minimum 40 percent turnout to be valid.
"Today we celebrate the victory of democracy," Tsipras said in a televised address to the nation, describing Sunday as "a bright day in the history of Europe."
"We proved even in the most difficult circumstances that democracy won't be blackmailed," he said.
"We don't want austerity measures anymore. This has been happening for the last five years and it has driven so many into poverty. We simply can't take any more austerity," said Athens resident Yiannis Gkovesis, 26, holding a large Greek flag in the city's main square.
How European officials react to the referendum result will be critical for the country, and a eurozone summit was called for Tuesday evening to discuss the situation. Investors responded quickly with Asian stocks hitting a six-month trough and the euro stumbling on Monday after the Greek vote raised the risk of a full-blown crisis in the euro zone.
Varoufakis said Sunday night that creditors had planned from the start to shut down banks to humiliate Greeks, and to force them to make a gesture of contrition for showing that debt and loans are unsustainable.
In the vote, "the Greek people said 'no more' to five years of austerity," Varoufakis said. The "No" vote "is a big 'yes' to democratic Europe. It's a 'no' to the vision of Europe as an infinite cage for its people. It is a loud 'yes' to the vision of the eurozone as a common area of prosperity and social justice."
The opposition has accused Tsipras of jeopardizing the country's membership in the 19-nation club that uses the euro, and has said a "Yes" vote was about keeping the common currency.
Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt was one of the first eurozone ministers to react to the initial results.
"This likely 'No' complicates matters," he told Belgium's VRT network, but insisted the door remained open to resume talks with the Greek government within hours.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande spoke to each other Sunday night and agreed "that the vote of the Greek people must be respected," Merkel's office said.
“I take note of the outcome of the Greek referendum,” said Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, adding that the “result is very regrettable for the future of Greece.” The Eurogroup also will meet Tuesday.