According to media reports, if Meimarakis fails, Greece could hold snap parliamentary elections as early as on September 20.
The government had been rumored to be considering early elections or a confidence vote since last week, when Tsipras faced a party rebellion over a bailout vote in parliament.
After campaigning against bailouts, the 41-year-old prime minister accepted last month Greece’s third bailout, which demands tax increases and spending cuts, to avoid a banking collapse.
Greece was receiving the first 13 billion-euro ($14.5 billion) payment of its new bailout Thursday, with 12 billion euros earmarked for repaying debts and the remainder for settling arrears to public sector suppliers.
His decision to call a vote so early – just hours after Greece started tapping loans from its 86 billion euro ($95 billion) rescue program – amounts to a bet that he can regain power with a new government that would not be hobbled by internal dissent.
A day after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned and announced a snap election, 25 colleagues have now committed to a new party, Laiki Enotita (Popular Unity).
“Now that this hard cycle has come to an end, I wish to submit to your judgement all that we have done”, Tsipras said, before meeting President Prokopis Pavlopoulous to formally hand in his resignation.
“The country can not breathe and stand on its feet unless a big part of the debt is cancelled”, Mr Lafazanis told a news conference to launch the party. He argued – reluctantly – that more budget cuts and higher taxes were inevitable conditions for Greece to stay in the euro and get the third bailout.
And the Dutch Finance Minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who led talks on the new bailout for the eurozone countries, said: “It is crucial that Greece maintains its commitments to the eurozone“.
He acknowledged Thursday the bailout deal was not what his government had wanted.
“The step by Prime Minister Tsipras isn’t surprising” considering he has lost his majority in parliament, said Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Tsipras is highly popular and is expected to win the election, which will likely be held next month.
In this way, the news agency stressed, they would be third in line to be given the mandate to form a future government.
In Berlin, the government said it expected Athens to press ahead with its reform agenda and the finance ministry said aid disbursements would be delayed should the elections cause any delay in an examination of the programme. “I feel the deep moral and political obligation to set before your judgment everything I have done, both right and wrong, the achievements and the omissions”, he said in the address.
Meimarakis accused Tsipras of trying to “escape from his problems” and the “ghost” of former Energy Minister and leader of the Left Platform of SYRIZA Panagiotis Lafazanis. Because it is true that the past elections of January, we promised a better agreement than we have managed to reach. There are weekly limits on cash withdrawals and Greeks can only transfer up to 500 euro (£359) overseas per month.