Tsipras wants new elections in Greece
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation on Thursday. New elections are expected to be held in mid-September, and Tsipras has said he hopes to gain a strong mandate for his party. The prime minister's decision could stabilise both Greece and Europe, some commentators write in praise. Others believe Tsipras is intentionally making people vote before they feel the impact of the austerity programme.
Tsipras deserves a place in politicians' Olympus
With his resignation Tsipras has once again demonstrated courage and good reasoning, comments the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore jubilantly: "On his own against everyone else five weeks ago in Brussels, Tsipras was bold enough to capitulate to Europe's dictates to save his country from certain disaster. Then after six months of ideological provocations and impossible demands he managed to negotiate a third bailout package for Greece within just 30 days. If he now passes this third test with flying colours and presses ahead with Greece's recovery and modernisation, Tsipras will not only deserve a place in the Olympus of great Greek statesmen, but could also become the go-to man for new European policy: the man who through an incredible and far-sighted ideological about-face prevented a Grexit and saved not only his own country but also the euro. He has shown that having the courage to be intellectually flexible - a rare virtue in European culture and thought - is ultimately everyone's moral obligation."
Clear majority in Athens also good for EU
A victory for former prime minister Alexis Tsipras in the September elections would stabilise not only Greece but all of Europe, the online edition of the centre-left news magazine Polityka believes: "Currently there is no one he could lose to, because Greece sees no alternative to him. What does this new turn of political events mean for Europe? Of course any election campaign will take its toll on the economy, but that's no reason to panic. There's a strong likelihood that Tsipras will receive a stable majority. That could improve the mood in Greece, which not so long ago was threatened with bankruptcy. And in time the country's relations with Europe could also normalise. What Greece needs most right now is calm to help it slowly emerge from the crisis."
Favourable wind blowing for Tsipras
Tsipras is playing his hand like a poker player and looks set to win the next round, the daily La Libre Belgique comments: "Even before getting his cards, a player has to take stock of how much he can bet. Transposed to Tsipras's terrain, this indicates that the winner of seven months ago should also take the next elections. Without an opposition that's able to get the better of Syriza and without a genuine programmatic debate, the real risk Tsipras faces comes from his own far-left party. … There, too, the context seems to favour Tsipras: short of resigning en masse and creating a party that starts over from scratch, the Syriza MPs who no longer give the government their vote of confidence can only campaign for their own party, and therefore for Tsipras."
Syriza leader risking his popularity
Alexis Tsipras is sending the Greeks back to the polling stations before they are confronted with the repercussions of the new austerity memorandum and he loses his popular support, the liberal website Protagon writes: "The elections will be held before the people receive notification of the new property tax (which Tsipras had wanted to abolish), before pensions are slashed (which Tsipras had considered taboo), and before taxpayers receive their tax assessments. ... His main reason for holding new elections now is to catch the other parties off guard and limit the damage that comes from being in power - in the hope that he will still be the one making the decisions after the elections. ... So far the prospects seem favourable. But that could change. In Tsipras's case the old adage could hold: 'The thief gets away once, then twice, but the third time he gets caught."