Greek MPs approve 85bn bailout deal

news
14 August 2015

Prime Minister Alexis TsiprasThe Greek parliament has approved the draft terms of a bailout deal involving 85 billion (or $95bn) in fresh loans after a night-long debate on Thursday.

In the third bailout deal in five years, lenders have proposed tax rises and spending cuts in return for a bailout money for the debt-laden nation.

The bailout deal received 222 votes while 64 voted against and 11 abstained from voting.

The passage of the bailout deal also helped Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras survive a significant rebellion within his own Syriza party.

But there were 31 "No" votes from Syriza members, and 11 abstentions - the biggest rebellion within the Syriza party so far. The rebels represented almost a third of all Syriza's MPs.

Reports in Greece say Tsipras will ask for a confidence vote before parliament in the next week.

Makis Voridis, an MP with the opposition New Democracy, said his party, which backed the bailout deal, would not support Tsipras in a confidence vote, Reuters news agency reported.

Parliamentary speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, a former ally and now one of Tsipras' most vocal critics within his own party, said she could not support the deal, and faced calls from Tsipras to hurry her handling of the bill. Instead, she took time to raise several concerns, delaying the timing of the debate to the prime minister's visible frustration.

Another Syriza MP, Panagiotis Lafazanis, told Tsipras, "I feel ashamed for you. We no longer have a democracy, but a eurozone dictatorship."

Rebels who have refused to vote on bailout reforms twice earlier and refused to approve tax increases, pension cuts and market reforms, insisted the government should make good on its electoral promise to reverse spending cuts and tax rises.

Tsipras told MPs they were facing a choice between "staying alive or suicide", adding, "I have my conscience clear that it is the best we could achieve under the current balance of power in Europe, under conditions of economic and financial asphyxiation imposed upon us."

Euro zone finance ministers are expected to discuss the terms of the bailout at a meeting later on Friday.





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