ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation Thursday eight months after he was elected into office.
In a televised address the premier called for an early election, and though it hasn’t been scheduled, there’s been speculation it might take place Sept. 20, the BBC reported.
Tsipras has faced criticism from within his own Syriza party after accepting austerity measures during a financial crisis despite campaigning against them. His announcement came on the same day Greece received its first installment of a new bailout and paid a $3.2 billion bill.
“The popular mandate we received has exceeded its limits and the public has to decide again,” Tsipras said in his address. “With your vote you will decide who will lead Greece, and how, on the difficult road that lies ahead.”
After approval across the Eurozone for its third bailout loan in five years, the first $14.5 billion (13 billion euros) of the $96 billion (86 billion euro) loan arrived in time for Greece to pay a $3.58 billion (3.2 billion euro) debt, due Thursday, to the European Central Bank.
Creditors demanded tax increases and spending cuts, and 44 members of Tsipras’ Syriza party in the Greek legislature voted against the bailout demands. The rejection of the bailout by those voting against it means the effective end of his governing majority, Energy Minister Panagiotis Skourletis said in an interview Thursday. A new election would be regarded as a voters’ test of confidence in Tsipras and his party.