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Tsipras steps down as Greece's opposition leader after election defeat

Alexis Tsipras steps down as head of Syriza
Alexis Tsipras steps down as head of Syriza Copyright Petros Giannakouris/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Petros Giannakouris/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Philip Andrew Churm with AP
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Greece's left-wing opposition leader Alexis Tsipras has stepped down following a crushing election defeat

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Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece's left wing opposition has resigned following his party's crushing defeat in Sunday's general election. 

His Syriza party won just 18% of the vote amid a surge in support for the governing New Democracy party, which claimed around 40% of the ballots.

 “The party must take difficult and courageous decisions, which are called upon to serve a new vision. This obviously concerns me too,” Tsipras said in a televised address. 

“I have therefore decided to propose the election of a new leadership by the members of the party, as stipulated in the party statutes, with immediate recourse. Of course I will not be a candidate,” he said. “I make no secret of the fact that this is a painful decision.”

Tsipras served as prime minister from 2015 to 2019 during the height of Greece's financial crisis, in which the country endured severe cutbacks as part of an international bailout programme.

Tsipras, who headed the party since 2012, is expected to stay on as leader until his successor is elected by the party membership.

Commentators blamed Syriza's poor election result on the party's largely-negative campaign, the resurgence of the traditionally-strong socialist party Pasok, and the appearance of splinter parties headed by former Tsipras allies. 

Largely rooted in fierce political confrontations during the 2010-2018 international bailouts, Syriza and the Socialists have been unable reach any agreement on potential collaboration, despite support from some senior members in both parties.

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