Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has resigned. He has asked the president for the earliest possible election. Government sources say the vote will take place on September 20.
Tsipras is hoping to seal public support for the country’s third bailout programme and crush a rebellion inside his Syriza party.
“I am proud of the battle my government and I have fought,” said Tsipras in a televised address. “We fought to stay true to our promises. We negotiated hard and insistently, for a very long time, we held out against pressures and blackmail. It’s true, we reached the limit. But we made the Greek issue into an international issue.”
Tsipras had fought Greece’s creditors for a better bailout deal but was forced to accept their demands for more austerity and economic reform.
Euronews correspondent Kostas said: “By asking for elections, Alexis Tsipras is looking to clear the landscape inside his party and to take advantage of his popularity. But over the next few days, he will need to explain to the Greek voters why he was forced to step back from most of Syriza’s pre-election commitments.”