The Greek Parliament has approved a bailout deal. The terms are be very harsh on the people. A significant faction of the Syriza Party threatens rebellion.
Eurozone officials were optimistic of approving a draft bailout deal for Greece on Friday after the country’s lawmakers cleared it in a vote that nevertheless saw the government suffer significant dissent.
The bailout is all that stands between Greece and a disorderly default on its debts — as soon as next week — that would force it out of Europe’s joint currency. The rescue package would give it about 85 billion euros ($93 billion) in loans over three years in exchange for harsh spending cuts and tax hikes.
The bill passed through the Greek parliament thanks to support from opposition parties, with 222 votes in favor, 64 against, 11 abstentions and three absent in the 300-member parliament.
Although approved by a comfortable majority, the result was a blow to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who saw more than 40 of his 149 radical left Syriza party lawmakers vote against him. He has come under intense criticism from party hardliners for capitulating to the creditors’ demands for budget cuts — austerity measures he had promised to oppose when he won elections in January.
The bill includes reforms increasing personal, company and shipping taxes, reducing some pensions, abolishing tax breaks for some groups considered vulnerable and implementing deep spending cuts, including to the armed forces.
Syriza dissenters angrily challenged the government during the all-night parliamentary session.
“I feel ashamed for you. We no longer have a democracy … but a eurozone dictatorship,” prominent party member and former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said before the vote. Lafazanis signed a declaration with another 12 left-wing politicians Thursday saying they would start a new anti-austerity movement. He stopped short of quitting Syriza.
— Lorne Cook and Elena Becatoros, AP