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Greek PM triggers snap election

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The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced he will step down from his role temporarily in the hope of regaining power after a snap election scheduled for next month.

Mr Tsipras was elected seven months ago on a promise to overturn Greece’s crippling austerity measures, but faced strong opposition in his Syriza party over the plans Europe forced on the country.

Last month, his party won a national plebiscite, securing support for a defiant anti-austerity position. Mr Tsipras then seemed to reverse his position, securing a bailout in exchange for austerity measures. This has forced him to again seek voter support — this time for capitulation.

“I want to submit to the Greek people everything I have done so that they can decide once more,” Mr Tsipras told the media.

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PM’s resignation follows that of his former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who stepped down in July after “no” vote was rejected. Photo: Getty

“I will shortly meet with the president of the republic and present my resignation and that of my government.”

Nearly one third of his left-wing party refused to back austerity measures demanded from Mr Tsipras and Greece by the Eurozone.

The massive new international bailout deal is worth about 86 billion euros ($129 billion) over three years.

Mr Tsipras successfully persuaded Greeks to reject tough reforms in July, only to adopt them at a eurozone summit a week later.

Despite going against their emphatic “no” vote against austerity, Mr Tsipras remains popular. His Syriza party is predicted to be returned at the fresh election, reportedly scheduled for September 20.

The hard-left leader said it was up to Greeks to judge whether he adequately represented them in a battle with foreign lenders on austerity demands.

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

– with ABC

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