Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned on Thursday, hoping to strengthen his hold on power in snap elections after seven months in office in which he fought Greece’s creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned on Thursday, hoping to strengthen his hold on power in snap elections after seven months in office in which he fought Greece's creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in.
Tsipras submitted his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and asked for the earliest possible election date.
Government officials said the aim was to hold the election on Sept. 20, with Tsipras seeking to seal public support for the bailout program that he negotiated.
Faced with a near collapse of the Greek financial system which threatened the country's future in the euro, Tsipras was forced to accept the creditors' demands for yet more austerity and economic reform - the very policies he had promised to scrap when he was elected in January.
"I want to be honest with you. We did not achieve the agreement we expected before the January elections," he told the Greek people in a televised speech before he met Pavlopoulos.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of euro zone finance ministers, said he hoped the resignation would not delay or derail implementation of the bailout package.
Tsipras decision deepens political uncertainty on the day Greece began receiving funds under its 86 billion-euro ($96 billion) bailout program, five years after a previous government took the first bailout from the euro zone and IMF.