Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras resigns and calls early elections

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has said he is resigning and calling early elections, as he tackles a rebellion by hardliners in his governing party who oppose the terms of the country's new bailout.

Alexis Tsipras made the announcement in a televised state address on Thursday.

Mr Tsipras defended his government's negotiating tactics and said Greece got the best deal possible for its three-year, 86 billion euro bailout from other eurozone countries.

He said that now that the country has secured its funding, he felt a "deep moral" obligation to lay his actions before the judgment of the Greek people.

Mr Tsipras will formally submit his resignation to the country's president. Elections will be held within a month, with government officials saying September 20 would be the likeliest date.

Mr Tsipras and his coalition government made a major U-turn in policy by accepting stringent budget austerity conditions that creditors had demanded in exchange for the 86 billion euro (£61 billion), three-year bailout programme. Mr Tsipras and his party came to power in January promising to scrap such spending cuts and tax hikes.

He has since said that accepting the terms was the only way to ensure his country remains in the eurozone, which opinion polls have shown the vast majority of his population wants.

A parliamentary vote to approve the bailout conditions last week led to dozens of Syriza policymakers voting against him, accusing him of capitulating to unreasonable demands that will plunge the Greek economy further into recession.

The political uncertainty took its toll on the market, with the Athens Stock Exchange closing 3.5% down.

Greece received the first 13 billion euros (£9.17 billion) from its new bailout package on Thursday, allowing it to repay its ECB debt and avoid a messy default.

Greece could not have afforded the debt repayment, which was confirmed by the debt management agency, without the rescue funds from 18 other European nations that share the euro currency.

Missing the payment would have raised new questions about the country's ability to remain in the euro.


From Belfast Telegraph