GREEK Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has resigned, triggering a snap general election in the debt-ridden country which has just received the first instalment of a new €86 billion bailout.
The loan is attached to tough austerity measures, and Tsipras said on Thursday night (August 20) that he had “a moral obligation to place this deal in front of the people, to allow them to judge… both what I have achieved, and my mistakes.”
Tsipras made the announcement after the first portion of the new bailout had been received, allowing Greece to meet a crucial repayment deadline on previous loans from the European Central Bank.
His move has forced a split in his left-wing party Syriza. Almost a third of Syriza MPs had voted against the austerity package in parliament, and many will find it impossible to campaign for the government’s position in an election which is essentially a referendum on the deal.
It was announced on Friday morning that the rebels would form their own party, with as many as 25 MPs expected to be a part of the new formation.
The most recent polls in Greece give Syriza around 33 per cent of the vote, making them the biggest party but without an overall majority.