Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced Thursday that he will step down and call snap elections for September 20, after facing strong resistance from within his own SYRIZA party. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the group of eurozone finance ministers, said he hoped the vote will be held as early as possible so Greece wastes no time in implementing a third bailout package.
Mr Meimarakis, who heads the New Democracy party, was formally handed a three-day mandate by the country’s president to try to form a new government earlier on Friday after Mr Tsipras stepped down. “We do not want to govern against the popular will”, he said, adding that Tspiras and his government were “confident in rightness of our policies and the maturity of the Greek electorate”.
The German government has urged Greece on Friday to stick to reform commitments irrespective of the snap elections called by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The party, which rode to power in January by vowing to end austerity measures, was deeply divided over Greece’s acceptance of a third worldwide bailout package.
He tried to justify his surprise resignation only a day after the referendum, in which the nation responded positively to the premier’s call for a “No” vote, saying he had learned of Tsipras’ intention to approve of the bailout deal regardless of the nation’s dissatisfaction.
Some analysts voiced concern that the election could delay reforms needed to get rescue loans, which are disbursed only after quarterly reviews. Because most current opposition parties also support the bailout, Tsipras should have little trouble forming a coalition willing to implement the deal’s terms. The contentious vote on the bailout after an all-night parliamentary debate exposed a growing schism within Syriza, which splintered Friday.
The European Commission is “not concerned” that the decision to hold new elections in Greece could affect the country’s bailout or the implementation of reforms associated with it, according to spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt.
“We are trying to find solutions”, Meimarakis said Thursday.
“I will meet with the Greece president shortly and present my resignation and that of my government”, Tsipras said in a televised address.
The conservative leader said he was willing to discuss the formation of a government even with another Syriza party figure than Tsipras as Prime Minister.
The political uncertainty took its toll on the market, with the Athens Stock Exchange closing 3.5 per cent.
The faction’s 25 MPS will be the third bloc in parliament that has 300 members – they are ahead of the centrist Potami and the right-wing Golden Dawn, which have 17 seats each.
Announcing his resignation late Thursday, Tsipras defended his actions while in power, stating that he had taken the best deal available when he agreed to a three-year, billion bailout in order to prevent a Greek default.