The victory of "no" in the Greek referendum was completely predictable. Its size however, exceeds any prediction. And this is a result which must first be explained and then interpreted as a choice of trajectory. It had been clear that in such a referendum every voter would answer "yes" or "no" bearing a different version of the question in his or her mind. Some answered the question of "yes" or "no" to the euro and Europe. Most chose to answer the question of "yes" or "no" to austerity.
For many, there has been one more question that has proven to be decisive. Perhaps "no" was in reality "yes" to a Tsipras-led government? Perhaps "yes" was seen as a sign of approval of a political establishment that was already disapproved of in January's elections and which, six months later, has shown that it has not realized anything, has yet to express regret for anything, has not changed, and seems to regard the referendum as an opportunity for revenge? Last Wednesday was the crucial day. In the morning, (while televisions were flooded with images of pensioners' hardship while waiting in front of closed banks hoping to withdraw part of their small pension), recurring polls showed for the first time "yes" marginally in front of "no."
Nevertheless, at 5:30 p.m., when Alexis Tsipras himself appeared on television screens to deliver his message, the gap started to narrow, and "no" took the lead once again. This way it became clear that the referendum's focus slowly started to change. It was the government and the prime minister who put themselves on the chopping board in this referendum. The question was: Do you trust us to continue the negotiations? Or are you going to overthrow us?
This is the shape, I believe, that the main question of the referendum has taken. This explains the great, triumphal victory of "no." The people of Greece have shown their confidence in this government. The question now is how the government will interpret this and how it will use its victory.
Two different negations lie within the referendum's "no." A "no-no" (no to the proposed bailout deal and no to any deal that Europe might offer Greece today and consequently no to the euro). And a "no-yes" (no to an austerity deal, but yes to the euro, through a fairer deal). Everything points to the fact that this second interpretation of "no" has probably prevailed. Alexis Tsipras's first reaction in his festive speech seems to also adopt this very interpretation. It's a first sign. The outcome of this Greek drama is not up to the Greeks anymore. It now depends on how European leaders will react. Whether they will view the referendum result as an opportunity for a big deal or a chance to rid themselves of the Greek issue, putting all the blame on the Greeks, remains to be seen.
This post originally appeared on HuffPost Greece and was translated into English.