Tsipras resigns, Greece heads for snap polls

21 Aug 2015


Greeks will go to polls for a second time this year - possibly next month - after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned following a revolt within his own Syriza party over a humiliating bailout deal with European creditors.

Tsipras, who was elected to power this January, said he had a moral duty to go to the polls now that a third bailout had been secured with European creditors.

He has faced a backlash within his own party since signing up to the new deal.

Tsipras resigned on Thursday after coming to power on the promise of not subjecting the people to severe austerity measures, which failed to stand up to European creditors who prescribed even harsher measures in return for a third bailout of the bankrupt economy.

With the radical Left wing of the Syriza party, who make up a third of the country's MPs, set to break away from Syriza later tonight,Tsipras has clearly failed to defuse internal opposition.

Dimitris Stratoulis who led the rebel group, hinted that his faction might split formally from the party, declaring a "political and social front which will be anti-austerity, democratic and patriotic".

"It will have as a goal to cancel the previous two bailout agreements and the third bailout agreement that the current government voted for, and to replace them with a policy of growth," he said.

Tsipras failed in his bid to defuse leftist opposition in parliament and consolidate support behind a tough, but unpopular, bailout program, media reports said.

Tsipras, however, remains the popular politician in Greece, according to polls.

Meanwhile, the ECB has now put out an official confirmation that Greece repaid a maturing bond today.

''The ECB confirms that all Greek government bonds maturing today and owed to the ECB and Eurosystem national central bank have been repaid by Greece.''

One man who will be backing Tsipras is Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. He tweeted this a couple of days ago along the lines of, "no-one likes us, we don't care"

Thursday was officially day one of Greece's third "Memorandum of Understanding". Under the terms of the deal, the Greek parliament was expected to pass a series of reforms needed to continue meeting their obligations and securing the drip feed of emergency cash. Now this process has been thrown into turmoil.

Creditors are set to carry out their first official "review" of the programme in October - an assessment which is vital to securing the debt relief that both Athens and the IMF have long called for. But without a government in place for at least the next month, the passage of any new reform bills and legislative deals is in severe doubt.

Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, still a Syriza MP, has spent the last month lambasting the terms of the new Greek deal, providing a 60-page blistering annotation of the diktat on his personal website.

But, he's previously proclaimed his loyalty to Tsipras and current finance minister Tsakalotos, who he considers "good friends" and said he enjoys the life of a backbench MP.

With Tsipras resigning as prime minister, multiple media sources are now reporting that 20 September will be the date for the election.

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