Greek PM Alexis Tsipras announces his resignation and calls a snap election for next month
- Alex Tspiras said he will meet with the Greek President to formally resign
- The Syriza Prime Minister lost support of a section of his political party
- Hard-line elements refused to support the latest Euro bailout deal
- It is understood a snap election will be held next month on the bailout
Greece's firebrand Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced that he will resign and called a snap election for next month.
In a televised address, Mr Tspiras, who only became Prime Minister in January, told the Greek people of his plans earlier this evening.
In a statement, Mr Tsipras announced: 'I will shortly meet with the president of the republic and present my resignation and that of my government.'
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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (left), pictured tonight with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (right), as the Sryiza leader handed in his resignation saying he can no longer command a majority in Parliament
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrived at the Greek's president's residence this evening to hand in his resignation after he lost the support of 49 members of his Syriza Party over further austerity cuts
Mr Tsipras, pictured tonight in the Greek Presidential palace said that the nation 'can decide once more'
He added: 'I want to submit to the Greek people everything I have done (since taking office in January) so that they can decide once more.'
It comes after the left-wing Syriza chief lost his majority in Parliament after a rebellion by hardliners in his own party who oppose the bailout agreement struck with international lenders last month.
Mr Tsipras met senior party officials and ministers to discuss the his next move and had been expected to call a confidence motion to shore up his position.
But the hard-left Greek leader has called snap elections for September 20 instead, in a move designed to give him the authority to implement the bailout programme's tough measures.
After this evening's announcement, Mr Tspiras met with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to formalise his resignation.
Mr Tspiras, pictured waiting for President Pavlopoulos, wants the Greek people to back his bailout deal
The most recent opinion polls show that Mr Tspiras' Syriza Party is still the most popular in among voters
Mr Tspiras, pictured last week in parliament said he wanted the people to decide on the new bailout deal
Mr Tsipras told President Pavlopoulos: 'The present parliament cannot offer a government of majority or a national unity government.'
The election could help increase support in Greece for the third euro zone bailout programme launched today, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's chief-of-staff said.
Mr Tsipras defended his government's handling of the €86billion bailout agreement, claiming he achieved the best possible deal for the Greek people.
As a result, he said he felt a 'deep moral' obligation to allow the Greek people to have their say on the deal in the form of an election.
Mr Tsipras added: 'I want to be honest with you. We did not achieve the agreement we expected before the January elections.
'I feel the deep ethical and political responsibility to put to your judgment all I have done, successes and failures.'
He added: 'Now that this difficult cycle has ended I feel the deep moral and political obligation to set before your judgment everything I have done, both right and wrong, the achievements and the omissions. The popular mandate I received on January 25 has exhausted its limits.'
President Pavlopoulos now will consult with the other Greek political parties to determine whether they can form a government without Sryiza. If this is not possible, the election will probably take place on September 20.
As part of the process, President Pavlopoulos will allow the conservative New Democracy and far-right neo Nazi Golden Dawn time to form a new government. Each party will have three days to succeed or Presdient Pavlopoulos will continue the election process.
New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis said he will use his available time.
Neither party, however, is expected to have the support in parliament to be able to form a government.
Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Thursday he hoped the resignation of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and new elections would not delay or derail the bailout package Athens has negotiated with its creditors.
He said: 'It is crucial that Greece maintains its commitments to the Eurozone. I recall the broad support in the Greek parliament for the new program and reform package and I hope the elections will lead to even more support in the new Greek parliament.'
Mr Tsipras was forced to act after 43 of his 149 MPs refused to support the latest list of demands imposed by Greek's creditors.
The political uncertainty saw Greek shares fall by 3.5 per cent on the stock market, while Paris and Frankfurt fell by two per cent.
'Swift elections in Greece can be a way to broaden support for [the] stability support programme just signed by PM Tsipras on behalf of Greece,' Martin Selmayr said in a tweet.
After months of negotiations, Tsipras accepted a deal to implement substantial economic reforms in return for loans but has lost the support of some of his own leftist allies.
Deal: The German parliament overwhelmingly approved a third bailout for Greece yesterday after Chancellor Angela Merkel (centre) saw off rumours of a rebellion within her conservative voting block
Communist affiliated protesters hold a banner reading 'No to the third bailout' during a demonstration against the agreement last week
While these have since been eased, they remain in force, hurting businesses and raising the risk that unemployment will rise from its current 25 per cent.
Tsipras' ministers have openly debated the pros and cons of an early election – which would be the third in as many years – following the party split.
A Metron Analysis poll on July 24 put support for Syriza at 33.6 per cent, making it by far the most popular party, but not enough to govern without a coalition partner, as it does now. No polls have been published since then due to the holiday season.
Syriza members have argued that the party should aim for a majority, saying this would achieve the stable government which Greece has lacked through the past five years of crisis.
'These elections, whenever they are announced by the government, will provide a stable governing solution.
A leading rebel, Syriza lawmaker Dimitris Stratoulis, hinted that his faction might split formally from the party, declaring a 'political and social front which will be anti-austerity, democratic and patriotic'.
He said: '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.'
Conservative leader Vangelis Meimarakis said he would have a go, although the arithmetic of the current parliament means his New Democracy party has little chance of pulling a coalition together.
Speaking following the resignation was made public, Mr Meimarakis claimed: 'He is a bit of a fibber. He might be likeable, but he is a bit cunning. I feel he is fooling the Greek people, his comrades, and the Europeans ... Did he get a bit too much sun in August?'