It’s hard to tell what Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will pull out of sleeve next to help solve Greece’s debt problems, but if today is anything like yesterday, then you might want to brace yourselves for some surprises.
Over the last 24 hours, Tsipras has been all over the political map with his shifting positions about his government’s plans to work with Greece’s creditors, just hours after Greece became the fist advanced economy to default on a €1.6 billion dollar payment to the IMF as its temporary bailout extension officially expired and capital controls were imposed on Greek banks.
After writing a compromising letter on Tuesday evening to the three institutions representing Greece’s creditors, obtained via Financial Times, Prime Minister Tsipras pulled a 180 degree shift and defiantly blasted his creditors before a television audience in Greece, claiming that Greece was being “blackmailed” and urging Greeks to vote “no” in the upcoming referendum on July 5th.
Tsipras believes that voting “no” in the plebiscite vote over the acceptance of Greece’s bailout conditions would amount to a better bargaining position for Greece concerning a new bailout package with their creditors.
However, several of Europe’s top leaders have made it crystal clear that a “no” vote would mean that Greece would head for the exit door and move out of the 19 member currency bloc.
European Commission President Jean Claude Junker said: “It’s the moment of truth…I’d like to ask the Greek people to vote yes…No would mean that Greece is saying no to Europe.”
Questions still remain about whether the latest proposal that Greek citizens will be soon be voting on during the upcoming referendum vote on July 5th is still valid as was recently pointed out by IMF acting Director Christine Lagarde concerning the expiration of Greece’s bailout extension.
Greek newspaper Kathimerini quoted a representative from the Council of Europe, a top human rights institution, who said that a referendum would fall short of international standards if planned on Sunday, saying that the time period is “too short” and the questions “not very clear”.
An aid close to Tsipras told Kathimerini that if a “yes” vote prevails, Tsipras would step aside and call for a snap election in the fall without explaining how the cash-strapped country would finance the loans due between next week and the fall.
It is unclear who is pulling the strings in Tsipras’ Syriza Party, which consists of an eclectic mix of liberals, Communists, and Socialists, but it is becoming more apparent that Tsipras’ mercurial behavior over the last 24 hours calls into question his competence and has left Europe’s leaders confused about his inconsistent leadership that is on full display in Athens.