Greek bailout tranche disbursed on time

Athens, Aug 20 (IANS) The first tranche of Greece’s new bailout programme — the third in five years — was disbursed on Thursday on time allowing Athens to repay its maturing debts to its international creditors, the finance ministry announced.

The announcement came as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was holding a meeting with his close aides and advisors to examine the prospect of calling snap general elections in later this year, government sources said.

Following the ratification of the new 86 billion euros ($96 billion), three-year bailout by the European Support Mechanism (ESM) on Wednesday evening, the first loan installment of 26 billion euros was paid out, Xinhua reported citing Greek news agency AMNA.

About 13 billion euros was allocated to a special account at the Bank of Greece to automatically repay a 3.4-billion euro debt to the European Central Bank (ECB) due on Thursday, a 2.2 billion euro debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the rest to pay off the 7 billion euro bridging loan ESM granted to the country in July.

Furthermore, 10 billion euros in the form of European Financial Stability Facility bonds will be used to recapitalise Greek banks, while one billion euros will be used for the payment of overdue obligations of the Greek government to the private sector.

The development clears the way for the Tsipras to decide his next moves in the domestic political scene, analysts in Athens noted.

According to the analysts, Tsipras was considering a new confidence vote in his government soon and, in case of failure to win back his party’s “rebels”, will call for snap elections in September or October.

With dissidents within the ruling Syriza party openly blasting the government of making a U-turn on the anti-austerity platform that brought the party to power last January, early polls seem almost inevitable.

Tsipras was thinking about calling the polls as early as September 13, officials said.

The second idea is to hold the elections later in October so that the government passes some bailout policies through the parliament first, on time for the first assessment by creditors that will pave the way for the discussion on the Greek debt relief.

In order to ensure that the measures will be ratified by the assembly with no problems from Syriza MPs , the premier could close the plenary so that the draft bills are put to vote in reduced summer parliamentary sessions where he can control the appointment of Syriza deputies.

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