Games Of Chance And Chicken In Greece

Somewhere, a bald man in a loud shirt is revving his motorcycle in a statement of protest...and respect.

Say what you will about him, the man knows how to win a Greek election.

Alexis Tsipras is gambling man. Sometimes, it works out for the Greek prime minister. Other times, not so much. But he is on a winning streak with the Greek electorate, which still seems to like him a lot for some reason, so double down.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece called Thursday for new national elections in a bid to consolidate his power and press ahead with the 86 billion euro bailout plan he agreed to with European creditors….

Officials said he would seek to schedule the vote for Sept. 20….

Despite his reversal on the bailout plan, Mr. Tsipras has remained highly popular, with the most recent polls in late July showing no other leader in a strong position to challenge him at this stage.

That new bailout, of course, means that the Greece that votes on September 20 won’t be in default. Which is, you know, something.

The latest aid, some 13 billion euros, or nearly $14.4 billion, arrived just in time for Greece to repay €3.2 billion that was due Thursday on government bonds held by the European Central Bank. Failure to pay would have put Greece into default and provoked another crisis.

Tsipras, by the way, isn’t the only one playing a dangerous game. Germany and the IMF are continuing their staring contest, with the Germans insisting the IMF continue to play the heavy in matters Greek bailout, and the IMF saying, “Sure, but only if you take a seat in this barber’s chair.” Still waiting on a blink.

On Wednesday, however, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, described IMF involvement in the program as "indispensable"….

The big catch is that while the IMF wants Athens to get debt relief, Berlin strictly opposes cutting Greek debt.

However, Schaeuble said earlier this week that steps could be taken to reassure the IMF on the debt sustainability issue and that he was sure the Fund would take part in the plan.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Call New Elections, Officials Say [NYT]
Greece Makes Payment to European Central Bank, Avoiding Default [NYT]
Germany wants IMF involved in Greek bailout for reform rigour: sources [Reuters]