Greeks in crisis

Greek parliament backs new bailout deal

Marketplace Staff Aug 14, 2015

From our partners at the BBC:

The Greek parliament has backed a new bailout deal after an all-night debate, despite a rebellion by many MPs in the governing Syriza party.

The deal requires tax rises and more tough spending cuts in return for an EU bailout of about €85bn (£61bn, $95bn) — Greece’s third in five years.

Eurozone finance ministers are meeting to vote on the plan in Brussels.

A deal is needed to keep Greece in the eurozone and avert bankruptcy. But it is risky for Greek PM Alexis Tsipras.

More than 40 MPs from his left-wing Syriza party voted against him on Friday.

Reports in Greece suggest he will seek a vote of confidence in parliament next week, bringing the prospect of snap elections closer.

The deal received:

— 222 votes for

— 64 against

—11 absentions

Mr Tsipras has so far relied on the support of pro-European opposition parties to pass the controversial measures. Syriza was elected on an anti-austerity platform.

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

Thirty-one Syriza members voted “No”, and 11 abstained — the biggest rebellion within Mr Tsipras’s party so far. The rebels represented almost a third of Syriza’s MPs.

Towards the end of the debate, Mr Tsipras defended what he called a painful but responsible decision. He said the country had no choice. This was not a triumph, he said, but nor was Greece in mourning.

The bill may have passed, but Mr Tsipras has paid a heavy political price. Almost a third of his own Syriza party members voted against the bailout, even more than expected. They believe the prime minister has comprehensively betrayed election pledges to turn his back on austerity.

In theory, Mr Tsipras has lost his parliamentary majority and his government is hanging by a thread. It’s being widely reported he’ll seek a vote of confidence next week, bringing the prospect of snap elections in the autumn that much closer.

But for now, the scene is set for eurozone finance ministers, meeting in Brussels later in the day, to give the bailout their seal of approval.

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