Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has resigned on Thursday evening in a televised address to the Greek nation and called for a snap election, expected on Sept. 20.
Tsipras formally submitted his resignation to President Prokopis Pavlopoulos Thursday night and asked the president to initiate procedures for an early election and set up a caretaker government.
He is standing down after only seven months in office, in the face of fierce criticism from the "Left Platform" within his ruling Syriza party after accepting fresh austerity measures for a new bailout deal with the international creditors to avoid crashing out of the euro currency.
Greece received the first 13-billion-euro ($14.5bn) tranche of the deal on Thursday -- with the overall package worth about 86 billion euros -- and immediately repaid 3.2 billion euros in government bonds held by the European Central Bank, avoiding defaulting on its debt. The bank confirmed the payment on Thursday.
Syriza had won the election in January on an anti-austerity platform, and promised to scrap harsh measures imposed on the Greek government by its creditors.
With a new round of voting in horizon within less than twelve months after the January polls, the president is required by the Greek constitution to first give a mandate to leaders of the opposition to try to form a government, starting with the largest party.
The mandate lasts for three days and if efforts prove fruitless it is handed over to the second-largest party and then to the third-largest.