Greek parliament votes Yes for euro bailout deal

Approval given for austerity package despite many government members voting against bill amid violent Athens protests.

    The Greek parliament has voted in favour of tough austerity reforms in a bid to save the country from bankruptcy, despite opposition from a number of government legislators.

    The vote took place early on Thursday morning after a lengthy and at times fiery debate about how a new bailout package would impact on the country.

    The package passed with 229 votes in favour in the 300-seat chamber, but 38 Syriza legislators abstained or voted against the government, including including former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, current Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, Deputy Labour Minister Dimitris Stratoulis and speaker of parliament Zoe Constantopoulou.

    Prior to the vote, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a final appeal for support of the tough bailout measures imposed by European partners this week, telling legislators there was no alternative, even though he disagreed with the measures.

    Violent clashes ahead of Greek vote on bailout deal

    "We don't believe in it, but we are forced to adopt it," Tsipras said.

    The measures had to be approved by parliament before European partners would agree to open talks on a new multibillion euro bailout.

    Independent eurozone analyst Yannis Koutsomitis told Al Jazeera that he expected a government reshuffle following the vote, as two or three ministers had voted against the bill.

    However, Koutsomitis said he did not expect the prime minister to resign.

    Earlier, on Wednesday night, riot police used pepper spray and tear gas to fight back youths who were hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks at police during an anti-austerity protest in Athens.

    Police said about 12,500 people were at the rally at Syntagma Square.

    The clashes broke out just as lawmakers were starting to debate the austerity bill, which includes consumer tax increases and pension reforms.

    Tsipras, has faced strident opposition to the bill from his own radical left Syriza party, but said it was the best possible deal he could get to prevent Greece from being forced out of Europe's joint euro currency.

    Earlier on Wednesday, however, his former finance minister Varoufakis told parliament that Greece's rescue deal was like the Versailles treaty, which forced crushing reparations on Germany after World War One and led to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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