MADRID - Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday became the first European leader to openly back the departure of Greece's far-left government as he urged Greeks to accept bailout proposals in a crucial referendum.
Rajoy said a "yes" vote in next Sunday's referendum would be good for Greece as it would allow its creditors to negotiate with a new government in Athens.
"If the referendum takes place and if (Greek Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras loses the referendum, this would be a good thing for Greece because the Greeks will have said yes, we want to stay in the euro, and we could negotiate with another government," he told radio Cope.
If the "no" side wins, Rajoy said "Greece would have no alternative but to leave the euro".
Rajoy's conservative Popular Party government is facing the rapid rise in Spain of new far-left party Podemos, which is a close ally of Tspiras's ruling Syriza party.