This article originally appeared on VICE Greece
Last night, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation, signalling that a new election is on its way. "The popular mandate that I received on the 25th of January has exhausted its limits. Now the sovereign people of Greece must weigh in," he said.
But how did we come to this? Initially, Syriza gained popularity by promising an end to the tough austerity measures imposed on Greece by its international creditors. Many voters were however disillusioned when they realised that – much like previous governments – Syriza too had signed up for a tough set of austerity measures.
Members of Syriza's 'Left Platform' – the party's radical left wing – opposed Alexis Tsipras' decision to sign the new memorandum and withdrew their support for the organisation. Following that, on the 14th of August, the government lost its parliamentary majority. On the morning of the 21st of August, members of the 'Left Platform' announced that they would be forming a new front called Laiki Enotita (Popular Unity).
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A caretaker government will be placed in charge of the country in the interim. It's widely assumed that it will be led by Supreme Court President Vasiliki Thanos – which would make her the country's first female PM.
But what do the Greek people have to say about being called to the polls for the third time in eight months? I asked some young people for their thoughts.
Photo via Franca
Franca, 27 Years Old. freelancer.
"I'm not sure how I feel about these elections. Tsipras once again focused on his party politics rather than the interests of the country. I hope he wins the new elections and finally comes out confident and knowing what he wants. I don't know which way I will vote or if I'll vote at all. I want a majority government, made up of a united party, because coalitions don't work. The new government must implement a programme that's realistic. I think Tsipras behaved very realistically after the referendum, so I hope he continues to pursue these firm policies without losing his way."
Photo via Augustinos
Augustinos, 28 Years Old. engineer.
"As a basic principle, letting the people choose is a good thing. The question is whether the elections should have taken place before the third memorandum was ever voted in. The referendum showed that Greeks can't handle more austerity. I believe that the timing of these elections suits the government because the public hasn't had time to resist the implementation of the new measures. Even though we no longer worry about leaving the EU, everyday life is becoming increasingly difficult and all the new measures favour the few rather than the many. I'll definitely be voting."
Photo via Maria
Maria Duka, 34 YEARS OLD. archaeologist.
"I don't want more elections. I'm sick of voting every six months. I'm tired of politicians making fools out of us. It would be better if all that election money went to someone dying of hunger. I once ran for office and witnessed first-hand how the election game is played. I said I'd would never vote again. Nevertheless, I voted in the referendum. I'm 95 percent against it but I'll probably do it anyway, even if it's just to keep the Golden Dawn from winning."
Photo via Aphrodite
Aphrodite, 27 Years Old. web developer
"I think this election is a good thing. I always knew that Syriza was limitated and would do a U-turn. It's not like elections bring us to a standstill – we should let them happen. I think the anti-austerity left will make gains, despite their faults. On the other hand, I'm afraid that some people might think that an even more leftist government could manage better. I am also afraid that Golden Dawn will play the 'we are the only true change' card. Whichever way it goes, I don't believe any result will bring about a 'better' government or improve living conditions here in Greece."
Photo via Raela
Raela, 25 Years Old. private sector employee.
"I don't think this election in necessary. The Greek people have already made their decision and put their trust in the current government. Unfortunately that government hasn't lived up to the public's expectations. Now, they don't want to take responsibility so they've called for yet another election. It's only going to cause even more political instability."
Photo via Manolis
Manolis, 21 Years Old. student.
"Generally, I think frequent elections are a bad thing. I like stability in society. That said, I have no problem with the upcoming election, though. It might be the only way to gauge public opinion in these uncertain times. Perhaps this is even an opportunity to set up a majority government. I'm studying in another city and won't actually be able to vote but I consider it my obligation to respect the final result."
Photo via Mina
Mina, 27 Years Old. actor.
"I'm glad I live in a country with a democratic constitution but I have some issues with all these elections. Firstly, they're mandatory. Secondly, they don't seem to bring about any real change and thirdly, they undermine the people's trust in politicians. These elections haven't had any positive outcome. I also think Golden Dawn's popularity will increase. In times like these, people can sometimes use their vote to attack society's most vulnerable. If that's the way things go, the situation could get out of control and we'll see just how bad the situation can actually get. "
Want some background? Here's a brief history of Greece's debt.