Greece‘s president has accepted a request from Alexis Tsipras to dissolve parliament, formally triggering a snap election that the prime minister has called for next month after his party suffered a resounding defeat in European parliamentary and local elections.
Monday’s request from Tsipras and approval from President Prokopis Pavlopoulos were considered formalities. Pavlopoulos is now expected to issue a decree ordering the new vote to be held on July 7.
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 European Parliament election in May.
After three successive wins since 2014, Tsipras also lost local elections earlier this month.
The prime minister said he wanted the early election to avoid months of campaigning that might endanger the bailed-out country’s economy and hurt the progress it has made in recent years.
“I came here given that … the European elections … have created a situation of a protracted pre-election period of about four months. I have the responsibility to consider that this may pose a threat for the national economy,” he told Pavlopoulos at the presidential palace in the capital, Athens.
“Given that we have entered into a virtuous circle, it must not in any way be affected, because that would mean that the sacrifices of the Greek people would be jeopardised. Having a full sense of this responsibility I ask you to dissolve parliament and call for national elections to renew the mandate,” he added.
Polls suggest New Democracy also is set to win the early national election.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday accused Tsipras of “defrauding” Greeks by hiking taxes after abandoning his promises to eliminate austerity in 2015.
“I would not want you to once again [have] a prime minister who comes to power by telling you things that cannot be done,” Mitsotakis said on the campaign trail on the island of Kos.
Before first coming to power in January 2015, Tsipras had vowed 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 or risk Greece being thrown out of the eurozone.
Markets welcomed the prospect of the vote. Greek stocks rose to a 13-month high on Monday, posting gains of 3.3 percent.