Greek parliament clears austerity measures, opens way for bailout

11 Jul 2015


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has won backing from lawmakers to agree to tough creditor conditions in an effort to obtain a new international bailout and save the country from a financial meltdown.

The Parliament in Greece passed the government's austerity measures  
Early on Saturday, the parliament  in Greece's passed a government proposal containing austerity measures to win a third bailout from international creditors, but with the government facing significant dissent from ruling party lawmakers.

The motion, which sought to authorise the government to use the proposal as a basis for negotiation with creditors during the weekend, received 251 votes in favour while 32 voted against and 8 voted 'present' (a form of abstention) in the 300-member parliament.

Tsipras could now face rebellion within his own party that could threaten his majority in parliament as the measures were passed with the support of pro-European opposition parties.

Those who voted against or abstained from voting were members of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras left-wing Syriza party.

On Friday Tsipras had appealed to his party's lawmakers to back a tough reforms package to try to save the country from financial meltdown.

The dissenters included two ministers Panagiotis Lafazanis who holds the energy portfolio and Dimitris Stratoulis who holds the social security portfolio as also prominent party member and parliament speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou.

"I support the government but I don't support an austerity programme of neo-liberal deregulation and privatisations which ... would prolong the vicious circle of recession, poverty and misery," Lafazanis said in a statement released to the press explaining his ''radical and categorical" objection to the proposal.

Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned this week, was absent as he opted to spend the weekend with his daughter who was visiting from Australia.

All opposition parties except the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn and the Communist Party voted in favour.

The proposed measures, including tax hikes and cuts in pension spending, are certain to inflict more pain on a Greek public who voted overwhelmingly against a similar plan lst Sunday.

With Athens falling in line, creditor nations and institutions are expected to deliver on Greece's loan request, paving the way for a deal that would help keep Greece in the euro zone.

The new proposal, if approved by Greece's international creditors, will provide longer-term financial support for a nation that has endured six years of recession.

But, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who received initial support from European Union and International Monetary Fund officials for the reform package for his abrupt about turn, could lose popular support.

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