After landslide vote, Greece prepares for new EU negotiations

GWEN IFILL: A historic moment in Greece this weekend, as voters drew the line on more austerity after five years of government cuts. But can Greece strike a new deal with its creditors? Or will they be forced to or choose to leave the Eurozone altogether?

Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant begins our coverage from Athens.

MALCOLM BRABANT: It was a resounding no to more austerity and the results of the referendum were greeted with loud celebrations in Syntagma Square.

CHRISTINA VLACHAKI, Greece (through interpreter): This is our first step to our next battle. Now it truly starts. I do not think that everything will suddenly be perfect, but it is a first step in making fear go away.

NIKI KALOMIRI, Greece: This result filled me with hope for tomorrow for Greece. I'm very proud of the Greek people, very, very proud. We don't want to be slaves.

MALCOLM BRABANT: First thing this morning, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras convened a meeting with Greek political leaders, asking for and winning broad support as he tries to restart negotiations with international lenders. Many in Greece believe it will be a bumpy ride.

NICK MALKOUTZIS, Editor, Macropolis: There have to be doubts about whether the Tsipras government can negotiate itself out of this corner. Over the last six months, there have been lots and lots of mistakes, many dead ends that they have gone up. I would say what Sunday's referendum does is it gives them a very clear and strong mandate to go back and to try and do something.

MALCOLM BRABANT: Discussions were also ongoing in Paris, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel met this evening with French President Francois Hollande. An emergency summit of Eurozone leaders convenes tomorrow in Brussels.

CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, Germany (through interpreter): We respect the decision of the referendum as a vote of a sovereign democratic state. And now we have to deal with that decision. We're saying very clearly that the door for talks remains open. And tomorrow's meeting of the heads of states belonging to the Eurozone ought to be understood in that sense.

MALCOLM BRABANT: And the message from the White House remained the same as before the vote: Negotiate a way to remain in the Eurozone.

JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary: The only way that that will happen is to agree to a package of reforms and financing that will allow Greece to get back on a path of economic growth and debt sustainability. That's the only available resolution that is in the collective interests of those in Europe who are involved.

MALCOLM BRABANT: But, back in Greece, support to exit the Eurozone was still a priority for many, including those of the Socialist Workers Party headquarters in a dingy Athenian street. They were packing away the no posters and promising to fight Tsipras' Syriza Party if he signs a bailout deal that the people reject.

PANOS GARGANOS, Socialist Workers Party: If Syriza signs a deal against the will of people who voted no, it will be faced with massive resistance.

MALCOLM BRABANT: It wasn't just the left that voted no in the referendum. Alexis Mantheakis, formerly a senior official with a right-wing nationalist party, believes Greece is now in a strong negotiating position.

ALEXIS MANTHEAKIS, Political Analyst: If Greece is forced into a corner and the banks are dried up, and they give us no money, then the government has the last resort of staying out of the euro, in which case I think you will have a knock-on effect of trillions of dollars lost. One-and-a-half trillion was lost within months with — just in one day on the stock markets in the referendum announcement.

If we go out of the euro, that's our last stick. We don't want to use it. But if we're forced into a corner, I think the government should do it.

MALCOLM BRABANT: The uncertainty of what happens to Greece and the euro wobbled financial markets around the world today. The dive was steadied by the announcement that the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, would resign.

For the time being, Greece remains afloat financially, just. The European Central Bank has decided to maintain what's called the emergency liquidity assistance program to Greek banks, so that their customers can continue to make withdrawals. The banks were supposed to reopen tomorrow, but will remain shuttered for at least two more days. The maximum withdrawal is just $67.

Without the ECB's helping hand, Greek banks would have collapsed within days. If Greek proposals fail to impress in Brussels tomorrow, the E.U. could decide to end its support, and Greece could really become the poor man of Europe.

For the PBS NewsHour, this is Malcolm Brabant in Athens.