Greek PM quits, calls poll to seek mandate
ATHENS: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced his resignation and has called an early election.
Mr Tsipras, who was elected in January, said he had a duty to go to the polls now that a third bailout had been secured with European creditors.
The election date is yet to be set, but earlier reports suggested September 20.
Mr Tsipras will lead his leftist Syriza party to the polls but has faced a rebellion by some members angry at the bailout’s austerity measures.
He had to agree to painful state sector cuts – including far-reaching pension reforms – in exchange for the bailout and keeping Greece in the eurozone.
Greece received the first €13 billion ($19.8 billion) tranche of the bailout on Thursday after it was approved by relevant European parliaments.
It allowed Greece to repay part of its debt to the European Central Bank and avoid a messy default.
“The political mandate of the 25 January elections has exhausted its limits and now the Greek people have to have their say,” Mr Tsipras said.
“I want to be honest with you. We did not achieve the agreement we expected before the January elections.”
Mr Tsipras said he would seek the public’s approval to continue his Government’s program. That means spending cuts and tax rises.
Greece will be run by a caretaker government ahead of the polls.
If a government resigns within a year of election, the constitution requires the president to ask the secondlargest party – in this case, the conservative New Democracy – to try to form an administration.