Greece’s Tsipras announces resignation and calls for snap elections

Government officials said that September 20 would be the likeliest date for the poll.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is pictured here leaving a Eurozone summit at the EU's headquarters in Brussels on July 7, 2015. John Thys/AFP Photo
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ATHENS // Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras announced his government’s resignation and called early elections on Thursday, an attempt to get a new mandate to implement a three-year bailout programme that sparked a rebellion within his radical left party.

In a televised address to the nation on Thursday night, Mr Tsipras defended his government’s negotiating tactics and said that Greece got the best deal possible for its 86 billion euro (Dh353.7bn) bailout from other eurozone countries.

But the bailout is conditional on Greece imposing stringent spending cuts and tax hikes – the very measures that Mr Tsipras won elections in January vowing to repeal.

Now that the country has secured its funding, Mr Tsipras said that he felt obliged to let the Greek people evaluate his work.

“Now that this difficult cycle has ended ... I feel the deep moral and political obligation to set before your judgment everything I have done, both right and wrong, the achievements and the omissions,” he said. “The popular mandate I received on January 25 has exhausted its limits.”

Tsipras headed to the country’s president, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and formally submitted his resignation to begin the election process.

He did not mention a date for the election, although it will have to be held within the next month. Government officials said September 20 would be the likeliest date.

* Associated Press