Io Chokona / Athens, Aug 21 () - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation and called for snap elections late Aug. 20, to refresh confidence to defend the country's new credit package, which triggered repellion in his party.
In a live televised address to the nation, the 41-year-old premier said he had worked hard to secure the best possible rescue package for his country, but he now needed a clear new mandate from the Greek people after it cost him his parliamentary majority.
"Now that this difficult cycle has come to an end, I wish to submit to your judgement all that we have done" Tsipras said, before meeting President Prokopis Pavlopoulous to formally hand in his resignation.Tsipras did not give a date for the new polls but they are expected to be held on September 20, the Greek media said, citing government sources.
Tsipras's announcement came on the same day the country received its first 13 billion euros in cash on Thursday, effectively starting the mammoth credit package agreed last month, and worth around 86 billion euros over the next three years.
The money arrived just in time to allow the Greek government to make a key debt repayment of 3.4 billion euros to the European Central Bank.
But the hard-won credit package -- which kept Greece in the EU but comes with painful demands for spending cuts and tax hikes -- has divided Tsipras's Syriza party after it stormed to power in January on an anti-package platform.
Greek MPs on Aug. 14 approved the new credit package deal -- the country's third in five years -- but 43 of Syriza's 149 MPs either rebelled or abstained from the vote, forcing the premier to rely on the opposition for support.