Date
18 January 2017
Alexis Tsipras managed to secure an overwhelming vote in favor of a second set of reforms. Photo: AFP
Alexis Tsipras managed to secure an overwhelming vote in favor of a second set of reforms. Photo: AFP

Greek parliament passes reforms needed for EU bailout talks

The Greek parliament has taken a crucial step toward a European Union bailout of the economy by passing a second set of reforms.

The passage of the measures means negotiations on an 86 billion euro (US$94 billion) bailout can begin, BBC News reported Thursday.

The reforms include changes to the Greek banking system and an overhaul of the judicial system.

There had been fears of a rebellion by the legislators, but Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was easily able to muster the support required.

The reforms received 230 votes in favor and 63 against with five abstentions.

Among those who voted against were 31 members of the prime minister’s own Syriza party.

However, this represents a smaller rebellion than in last week’s initial vote.

Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis was one of the rebels in the first vote who returned to vote with the government this time.

Speaking before the vote, Tsipras stressed that he was not happy with the measures that creditors had imposed.

“We chose a difficult compromise to avert the most extreme plans by the most extreme circles in Europe,” he told the lawmakers.

Representatives of the European institutions that would provide the bailout funds will begin negotiations in Athens Friday.

Last week, Greece passed an initial set of austerity measures imposed by its creditors.

These were a mix of economic reforms and budget cuts demanded by the eurozone countries and institutions before bailout talks could continue.

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