Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will resign within hours to pave the way for early elections on Sept 20, government officials said, hoping to quell a rebellion in his leftist Syriza party and seal support for a bailout programme. Sonia Legg reports
No time to enjoy the relative calm - just hours after Greece made a key debt repayment the government was stirring things up again. Alexis Tsipras apparently planning to resign to clear they way for early elections on September 20. His Finance Minister hinted as much to parliament earlier in the day (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, EUCLID TSAKALOTOS, SAYING: "I think these elections (CONTINUES OVER CUTAWAY OF LAWMAKER LISTENING) from what I hear are probably imminent, I think they are different from those held in 2012, because there was no deal then, we went to the polls to see who would negotiate. Now, a deal exists." More market turmoil is now likely. But Tsipras has remained relatively popular with Greek voters despite negotiating a new bailout deal after promising to oppose austerity It's thought he's decided to go to the polls before that changes. But Oanda's Craig Erlam says it's still a gamble (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH): CRAIG ERLAM, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, OANDA, SAYING "Will the people vote in the more hard-left liners who are going to battle Europe. This is the risk with Greece still and I don't think anyone at this stage is really of the opinion that this Greece story can fall into the background and resolve itself." Tsipras has only been Prime Minsiter for seven months. But he lost his parliamentary majority after a rebellion by hardliners in his Syriza party. They opposed the new bailout agreement struck earlier this month with international lenders.