Greece to hold snap election in July after presidential approval

Greece to hold snap election in July after presidential approval

Greeks will go to the polls in July, after the country's president approved a request to hold a snap election.

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras called for the vote on Monday, just four months before the end of his term, and it was accepted by Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

The snap election is expected to take place on July 7.

The announcement came just weeks after Tsipras's Syriza party suffered devastating defeats in both the European and local elections.

Tsipras has previously promised a national election at the end of his term in October, but after a nine per cent margin between Syriza and the conservative New Democracy party in May's EU elections, he decided to act early.

He said it was to avoid possible damage to Greece's economy through months of campaigning, after years of progress since the country received bailouts.

"We are here today at the beginning of the election campaign, having the privilege, for the first time after ten years, to discuss for our own programme of the next four years," Tsipras told Pavlopoulos at the presidential palace in Athens.

"I ask you to dissolve the parliament and call for national elections as the Constitution and the relative law says, to renew the popular mandate."

It is the first time since the restoration of democracy in Greece, in 1974, that national elections will be held in July, the middle of the tourist season.