Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a critical vote of confidence tonight that will determine both his political future and that of Greece—and in some ways, that’s the easy part. If Papandreou survives the midnight vote (5pm ET) he’ll be able to pass austerity measures that will in turn bring a €12 billion ($17.2 billion) cash infusion from Europe. That’s expected to be smooth sailing, according to the Wall Street Journal, because Papandreou’s recent Cabinet reshuffle has reunited his socialist party behind him.
But then comes the tough part, the New York Times observes: convincing the private banks who hold Greek debt to turn around and lend to the nation again after it redeems their bonds. If they don’t, other European countries and the IMF won’t put up their part of the bailout. If that happens, Greece’s debt crisis “threatens to overwhelm” Europe’s recovery, the IMF warned yesterday, predicting spillover effects in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and even Italy and Belgium. (Read more Greece stories.)