June 10, 2019 / 3:41 PM / 8 days ago

Greek president approves Tsipras call for snap election

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to discuss snap elections at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece, June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s president accepted a request from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to dissolve parliament on Monday, formally triggering a snap election that Tsipras has called for next month after badly losing a vote for European parliament.

Tsipras called the snap election four months before the end of his term after the main opposition conservative New Democracy beat his leftist Syriza party by 9.5 points in the election for European parliament last month.

Monday’s request from Tsipras and approval from President Prokopis Pavlopoulos were considered formalities. Pavlopoulos is then expected to issue a decree ordering the new vote and dissolving parliament.

The government has said it wants to hold the new election on July 7. Tsipras has said this will avoid a protracted pre-election period before the end of his term in October, which might have hurt economic progress made in recent years.

Tsipras, 44, stormed the Greek political stage six years ago, promising to fight austerity prescribed by Greece’s lenders in return for financial bailouts after years of economic crisis.

His Syriza party was forced to backpedal and accept another bailout soon after its election in 2015 or risk Greece being thrown out of the euro zone.

Greece emerged from economic adjustment programmes in 2018 after borrowing more than 280 billion euros in three separate bailouts.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Michele Kambas

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