Leader Tsipras to Greeks: Now It's Time to Judge Me

He quits, calls new elections in wake of bailout
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 20, 2015 2:29 PM CDT
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.   (AP Photo/Yannis Liakos)

(Newser) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras today announced his government's resignation and called early elections, an attempt to get a new mandate to implement a three-year bailout program that sparked a rebellion within his radical left party. In a televised address to the nation, Tsipras defended his government's negotiating tactics and said Greece got the best deal possible for its $95 billion bailout from other eurozone countries. But the bailout is conditional on Greece imposing stringent spending cuts and tax hikes—the very measures Tsipras won elections in January vowing to repeal. His U-turn in accepting the demands by the country's creditors led to outrage among hardliners in his Syriza party, with dozens voting against him during the bailout's ratification in parliament last week.

The bailout was approved solely thanks to support from opposition parties. Without it, Greece faced defaulting on its debts and crashing out of Europe's joint currency. Now that the country has secured its funding, Tsipras said he felt obliged to let the Greek people evaluate his work. "I feel the deep moral and political obligation to set before your judgment everything I have done, both right and wrong, the achievements and the omissions," he said. "The popular mandate I received on January 25 has exhausted its limits." A BBC analysis says that while the elections are in the name of stability, they will surely create "political uncertainty, and that's becoming a pretty familiar feeling here in Athens." (Read more Greece stories.)

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