Greek PM Resigns: Tsipras Goes From Far Left to Hard-Headed Center

A portrait of Alexis Tsipras, who has resigned as Greece’s Prime Minister. He has called for an election next month. (Image: Flickr/Thierry Ehrmann)
A portrait of Alexis Tsipras, who has resigned as Greece’s Prime Minister. He has called for an election next month. (Image: Flickr/Thierry Ehrmann)

Alexis Tsipras has resigned as Greece’s Prime Minister, and so now his country faces another election that is expected to be held at the end of September.

Most agree that Tsipras is expected to be voted back into power. So why the need for another election?

Well, last month he signed a deal with Greece’s Eurozone partners that granted his country a bailout worth €86 billion.

The catch for Tsipras is that the bailout requires Greece to put in place austerity measures, which are pretty much things the he was elected to resist.

So Tsipras has done a pretty big U-turn.

But with a collapsing economy—i.e., for several weeks Greek banks had no money—Tsipras had little choice but to sign Greece up for its third bailout deal.

See Tsipras announcing his resignation in the video below, which also includes a general overview of the situation:

In making his deal, Tsipras has met massive resistance from the more radical left elements of his Syriza party.

The upcoming election is being seen by some as a way for Tsipras to wedge out those radical elements out from the party and out of his way.

“And, if the ex-prime minister called the election in order to rid himself of Syriza’s troublesome Left Platform, then the gambit has already worked. Late last night, 25 MPs split from Syria to form a new party called Popular Unity [full marks for irony on that one], which is now the third largest in parliament,” wrote Ben Wright, Group Business Editor for the UK’s The Telegraph.

Despite losing numbers, Tsipras and his more moderate supporters are expected to return to power, but he may need to from a coalition with centrists to allow that.

Analysts say Tsipras’s move to call elections will ensure that he has a mandate to press ahead with the austerity measures.

Among the majority of the Greek population, Tsipras’s popularity is generally holding and the general mood is that he managed to get the best deal from nothing, but bad options.

However, another election and further politicking isn’t something many Greeks are looking forward to.

“I think there is real democracy fatigue in Greece. All these votes are creating political deadlock. Elections have become a way in which to overcome political disputes,” one Greek lawyer told The Guardian.

See a video below on how the Greeks repaid €3.2 billion to the European Central Bank after Athens received the first emergency loans agreed under the country’s third bailout:

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