Greece received the first chunk of its multibillion euro bailout package yesterday—to the tune of 13 billion euros—but all is not well in Athens.

Political opposition to the harsh austerity terms laid out by Eurozone creditors has caused a revolt in the far-left Syriza party and prompted Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to tender his resignation and call for early elections.

More from the BBC:

Alexis Tsipras made the announcement in a televised state address on Thursday.

“The political mandate of the 25 January elections has exhausted its limits and now the Greek people have to have their say,” he said.

“I want to be honest with you. We did not achieve the agreement we expected before the January elections.”

Mr Tsipras said he would seek the Greek people’s approval to continue his government’s programme.

You can watch Tsipras’ announcement here, via Reuters.

Tsipras was elected prime minister back in January after campaigning on a platform that rejected implementation of austerity measures to bring the Greek economy back under control. However, those promises went out the window earlier this summer as it became increasingly apparent that Eurozone leaders wouldn’t agree to yet another bailout for the struggling country unless the government agreed to raise taxes and make major cuts to entitlement programs and pensions.

Tsipras faced harsh opposition as his government debated the offer; as the deadline to accept or reject loomed, Greek MPs acted out by tearing copies of the deal to shreds during a session of Parliament:

More from July, from the Daily Mail:

There were furious scenes in the Greek parliament today as politicians ripped up papers outlining the terms of the country’s €86 billion bailout deal and threw them at Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Politicians gathered in Athens this afternoon to debate the draconian reforms Tsipras agreed to implement during crunch overnight talks with eurozone leaders earlier this week.

The harsh austerity measures Greece would have to put in place to release the bailout fund have been widely condemned, with even the International Monetary Fund branding them unfair.

As a midnight deadline looms for Greek MPs to vote on whether to accept the controversial plans, it now looks increasingly likely that Tsipras’ own hard left Syriza party will reject them, after more than half of the party’s members slammed the deal, branding it ‘humiliating’ and ‘destructive’.

Earlier Tsipras revealed that even he does not believe in the tough bailout deal offered by eurozone leaders but said he only agreed to implement it in order to save the near-insolvent country, adding that he has no intention of resigning over the matter.

Although most analysts expected Tsipras to call for early elections in the wake of the bailout scandal, they were not expected until early autumn. However, last week a third of the Syriza party abandoned Tsipras, eliminating his majority in parliament. By jumping forward in the electoral timeline, Tsipras may be able to salvage control of the government by playing to his supporters before the harshest batch of austerity measures are implemented.

A midsummer poll put support for the Syriza party at 33.6%; the far-leftists are by far the most popular party in Greece, but they don’t have enough support to govern without forming a coalition.

Government officials are aiming to hold the elections on September 20.


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