Greek Parliament Approves Bailout Reforms Despite Split within SYRIZA

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | July 16, 2015, Thursday // 07:59
Bulgaria: Greek Parliament Approves Bailout Reforms Despite Split within SYRIZA Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (C) addresses the members of the parliament during a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece, 15 July 2015. Photo: EPA

The Greek Parliament approved early on Thursday a bill of reforms, which Athens has to implement in order to be granted a new bailout by international creditors.

The bill was passed with the support of pro-European opposition parties despite the split within the main ruling party SYRIZA.

A total of 229 MPs voted in favour, 64 were against, 6 abstained, while one MP was absent, daily Kathimerini informs.

The bill was opposed by 32 SYRIZA MPs, including former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, while another six abstained.

All MPs from the junior coalition partner Independent Greeks voted in favour of the prior actions required for granting a bridge loan and a third bailout of up to EUR 86 B.

Prior to the vote Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pointed to the agreement as the only viable option left to him and challenged oppositioners within SYRIZA to propose a better one.

In a similar fashion, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos defended the agreement as a necessary evil.

The parliamentary spokesman of SYRIZA Nikos Filis accused eurozone officials of attempting a “coup” and overthrow of the Greek government.

Although the opposition parties heavily criticised SYRIZA and in particular Tsipras for his absence in the early part of the debate, they expressed their support for the agreement.

The debate was accompanied by violent clashes outside the parliament building, which resulted resulted in more than fifty protesters being detained by police.

Earlier on Wednesday, supporters of left-wing groups staged a peaceful rally in Athens with more than 10 000 participants protesting against the bailout agreement and the new austerity measures.

Meanwhile, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem announced that eurozone finance ministers will hold a conference call on Thursday to discuss the latest developments in Greece.

The 19 finance ministers of the eurozone are not in a position to begin official talks on the bailout before parliaments in several EU member states approve the start of negotiations.

The German Bundestag is set to vote on the plan on Friday, while the French parliament already approved the agreement overwhelmingly.

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Tags: greece, parliament, bailout, austerity, creditors, reforms, Syriza, Independent Greeks, Alexis Tsipras, Yanis Varoufakis, Euclid Tsakalotos, Eurozone, Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, bridge loan, protest

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