Date
24 October 2017
Greek national flags fly outside the parliament in Athens on Wednesday, Lawmakers approved tough new reforms demanded by creditors in a 229-64 vote. Photo: Bloomberg
Greek national flags fly outside the parliament in Athens on Wednesday, Lawmakers approved tough new reforms demanded by creditors in a 229-64 vote. Photo: Bloomberg

Greek parliament approves tough reforms demanded by creditors

Greece’s lawmakers approved tough new austerity measures demanded by European creditors as a precondition to begin talks on unlocking an 86 billion euro (US$94 billion) bailout package.

After more than four hours of debate stretching into the early hours of Thursday, 229 members of the 300-seat parliament in Athens approved the austerity measures, Bloomberg News reported. 

The vote came even as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faced a revolt by some members his own Syriza Party.

Thirty-eight lawmakers from Syriza abstained or voted against the government, including former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and the current Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, according to Reuters.

The result opens the way for talks to begin with European partners on a third bailout, but leaves the future of the leftist Tsipras government unclear following the split in his party ranks.

Following the parliament vote, the onus is now on the European Central Bank (ECB) and euro-region governments to deploy more emergency funds to help Greece tide over its financial crisis.

The ECB’s Governing Council meets in Frankfurt on Thursday and Germany’s parliament will vote Friday on whether to start bailout negotiations to help Greece cover its debts and pay pensions and salaries.

“I had a choice of a deal I did not agree with, or a disorderly default, or Schaeuble’s choice of a euro exit,” Bloomberg quoted Tsipras as saying. “I’m the last person to beautify an agreement with which I disagree in many of its points.”

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