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Greek finance minister resigns ahead of bailout talks

"PM Tsipras feels my absence from meetings will help him reach an agreement," Yanis Varoufakis said.

Outgoing Greece Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (Source: Reuters) Outgoing Greece Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (Source: Reuters)

Hours after the Greeks resoundingly voted against austerity measures pitched by creditors in a landmark referendum, the country's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has stepped down.

"PM Tsipras feels my absence from meetings will help him reach an agreement," Varoufakis said.

"I shall support PM Tsipras and the new finance minister. I shall wear creditor's loathing with pride," he said.

A prominent figure in the Greek government, Varoufakis was interviewed frequently. His sharp-tongued attacks against austerity, however, added to the country's woes with its creditors.

Varoufakis' unabashed criticism of a hated bailout programme and his casual, untucked shirt and tie-less style may have given him a rock star status in Greece, but he also alienated many of his euro zone peers, raising concerns about whether he was hampering rather than helping talks to secure aid.

Varoufakis was also involved in a public war of words with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Earlier in March, German newspaper Bild's online version had cited a Greek government source as saying that it was only a matter of time before the finance minister resigned, adding that such a decision had already been made. However, other government officials had denied the report. "None of this is true, it's far from reality," one of the officials had said then.

The 53-year-old academic economist had never held a political position until Tsipras tapped him to become finance minister in January.