Greece headed for snap polls as Tsipras resigns

RSTV Bureau
Greece-PM-Tsipras

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras meets President Pavlopoulos to hand over his resignation. Photo by PTI

After being at the helm of affairs in Greece for seven tumultuous months, PM Alexis Tsipras tendered in his resignation in order to seek snap polls in the debt-stricken nation. The polls could happen as early as 20th September next month. This will be the second general elections in Greece in less than eight months.

“I would like to submit the government’s resignation, and I would like to express my belief that the constitutional processes need to be set in motion immediately so that we can go as soon as possible, and with all due civility, to elections so that the Greek people can decide in what way the country should be shepherded safely and quickly out of the crisis,” said Tsipras who served as PM only for seven months.

According to the Greek constitution, the leader of the main opposition party, Evangelos Meimarakis will be given the opportunity to form a government provided he is able to garner the numbers. In that case, elections will not be held.

“I consider it my political obligation and responsibility to exhaust all the options in case the current parliament can give a solution,” said Meimarakis.

Tsipras, the leader of Syriza Party has been facing opposition by a handful of members from within his own party. Tsipras, who stormed to power for being anti-austerity, has been unable to fulfil his poll promises. He did stand up to the foreign creditors, but also gave in to a set of economic policies which resulted in spending cuts and higher taxes.

However to his credit, Tsipras did manage to secure multiple bailouts for the cash-strapped economy and saved the exit of Greece from Eurozone.

Tsipras recently clinched a third bailout deal and riding on the back of this, he hopes to get a mandate from Greeks.

“The mandate I received on January 25th has exhausted its limits, and now people must decide anew,” said Tsipras said in a televised address shortly before he met President Pavlopoulos to hand over his resignation.

The immediate polls may allow Greece’s youngest ever PM to regain his popularity with Greek voters and may also give him a chance to return to power without any anti-bailout rebels from his own Syriza party. And it is widely believed that the chances of him returning to power are high.

Meanwhile, Greece received the first batch of bailout money on Thursday, a sum of 13 billion euros. Greece managed to repay the 3.2 billion euro debt to the European Central Bank and avoided a default.