In an announcement on national Greek television, seven months after taking office on the promise of rolling back austerity and staunchly opposed to additional bailouts from Europe, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has resigned.
Elections are said to take place on September 20th during which time Tsipras will seek a new mandate to continue his work in implementing the agreement his government signed with European creditors last week for a third bailout, equalling almost $90 billion in new loans.
I am resigning because I have now exhausted the mandate which the public gave me in January’s general election, says Tsipras.
Now you must “decide with your vote whether we made the right choice,” he said in his address.
Tsipras suggested in his comments that Greece has taken a decisive step forwards in the crisis, with the three-year €86bn deal he signed up to last month, effectively splitting from the hardline left of his own party, challenging them as advocates of a Grexit— or Greek exit from the eurozone and “advocates” of the drachma.
Snap elections could allow Tsipras to capitalize on his popularity with Greek voters that he still maintains, according to numerous polls, giving him additional leverage to implement the toughest parts of the bailout agreement he negotiated with eurozone leaders. With new elections and a potential victory, he can move forward without the anti-bailout rebels who are almost certain to split from Syriza and form a new party.