ATHENS - With elections coming and his party holding big leads, major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the markets are expecting he’ll win and are calculating how to react as he has vowed a business-friendly environment.
“Markets have priced in a political change that favors investment in Greece and political stability after the national election,” Mitsotakis told the financial news agency Bloomberg in an interview in his Athens office.
The article noted that Mitsotakis served as Administrative Reform Minister from 2013-15 during a previous New Democracy-led coalition in which Antonis Samaras was Premier and his partner was the now-defunct PASOK Socialists who went under after backing austerity measures antithetical to their alleged former principles.
Greece’s request to pre-pay up to 4 billion euros ($4.53 billion) in bailout monies from the Washington, D.C.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) got the okay from the agency as the government wants to get rid of higher-interest loans as soon as possible.
The IMF took part in two first rescue packages of 240 billion euros ($271.67 billion) that began in 2010 but stayed out of a third in the summer of 2015 for 86 billion euros ($97.35 billion) that Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras sought and accepted after saying he wouldn’t because it came with more austerity measures he vowed to reject but then implemented.
The IMF, which was part of a Troika of lenders with the European Union and European Central Bank, kicked in only 9.8 billion ($11.09 billion) but demanded harsh measures in return and was replaced in the third bailout by the European Stability Mechanism.
The prepayment agreement came during a meeting in Washington between IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, who was there for the agency’s annual spring meetings.
Germany, which put up the bulk of the bailouts that has seen its banks raking in a fortune in interest, wanted the IMF to keep participating in monitoring of reforms Greece’s government must hit to stay on course for years.