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Greek PM calls party congress on bailout in September

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, under fire from his Syriza party comrades over an unpopular EU-IMF bailout, on Thursday proposed holding an emergency party congress in September to determine government strategy.

[ATHENS] Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, under fire from his Syriza party comrades over an unpopular EU-IMF bailout, on Thursday proposed holding an emergency party congress in September to determine government strategy.

"I call on everyone to share the political responsibility for the unity of Syriza," Mr Tsipras told members of the party central committee.

"I propose holding... an emergency congress in September," the 41-year-old premier said.

Mr Tsipras is under pressure from a sizeable minority of Syriza members who say the tough agreement he signed with international creditors on July 13 goes against the government's anti-austerity promises.

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Over 30 Syriza lawmakers this month refused to vote for reforms needed for a three-year bailout in two separate votes, and Mr Tsipras on Wednesday said early elections would have to be called if this resistance persisted.

On Thursday, he said that if Syriza members decided later in the day against holding an emergency congress in September, then the government's plan to ratify the bailout should be put to a party referendum on Sunday.

Mr Tsipras said there was an "absurd duality" in Syriza with many prominent members including former cabinet members voting against the reforms, and the government relying on opposition votes to secure their passage through parliament.

"In our party, there are no lesser and greater leftists, lesser and greater revolutionaries," the premier said.

"If the goal is not common, there is no sense in coexisting," he added, raising the prospect of a split in the party.

AFP

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