Tsipras Resigns, Wants Early Election

Tsipras Resigns, Wants Early ElectionTsipras Resigns, Wants Early Election

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned from his post on Thursday calling for new elections, as the embattled leader attempted to quell dissent within his own ruling hard-left government.

Facing an internal party revolt over his embrace of more austerity measures in return for a third massive international bailout, Tsipras is hoping to strengthen his hold on power, AFP reported.

“During these difficult times we must hold onto, and champion, what matters most, our country and democracy,” he said in a speech on national television.

Tsipras submitted his resignation to Greece’s President Prokopis Pavlopoulos Thursday evening, saying the mandate he won in January had come to an end.

Tsipras said he wanted a snap election as soon as possible, with government sources saying earlier that his aim was to schedule the poll for September 20. His decision deepens political uncertainty on the day Greece began receiving funds under its $96-billion bailout program, five years after a previous government took the first bailout from the euro zone and IMF.

Earlier, the European Commission, one of the institutions overseeing the new rescue package, welcomed the news that Tsipras was stepping down, saying it would politically bolster the just launched bailout, Greece’s third in five years.