Greece: Tsipras resigns, calls early elections
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned on Thursday and called an early election hoping to strengthen his hold on power after seven months in office in which he fought Greece's creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in, according to Reuters.
Tsipras submitted his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked for the earliest possible election date, Reuters reports.
Government officials said the aim was to hold the election on Sept. 20, with Tsipras seeking to crush a rebellion in his leftist Syriza party and seal public support for the bailout program, Greece's third since 2010 that he negotiated.
"I will go to the president of the republic shortly to submit my resignation, as well as the resignation of my government," Tsipras said in a televised address before he met Pavlopoulos.
His decision deepens political uncertainty on the day Greece began receiving funds under its EUR 86 billion ($96 billion) bailout program, five years after a previous government took the first bailout from the euro zone and IMF.
But a snap election should allow Tsipras to capitalize on his popularity with voters before the toughest parts of the latest program - including further pension cuts, more value-added tax increases and a "solidarity" tax on incomes - begin to bite. This may allow him to return to power in a stronger position without anti-bailout rebels in Syriza to slow him down.