(Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will hand in his resignation later on Thursday and propose early elections be held on Sept. 20, government officials said.
Tsipras was elected only in January but has suffered a rebellion among hard left lawmakers in his Syriza party and had to rely on opposition support to win parliamentary approval for Greece’s new 86 billion euro bailout deal.
- According to the constitution, if a government resigns within a year of the last election, the country’s president must hand an exploratory mandate to the 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.
- If these efforts to form a new government fail, then the president calls a general election.
- If Tsipras resigns, the mandate is handed to the conservative New Democracy party and, if that fails to form a government, to the far-right Golden Dawn.
- However, this procedure may be side-stepped as the opposition leaders are likely to hand back the mandate to the president, clearing the way for snap polls that must take place within 30 days from the date they are announced.
Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; editing by David Stamp