Greece gears to handle third billion- euro bailout
GREECE’S parliament overwhelmingly approved a new batch of reforms yesterday demanded by the country’s international creditors, clearing the way for talks on a third multi- billion euro bailout without which the country faces total financial ruin.
Politicians voted 230- 63 in favour of the measures, following a whirlwind debate. Another five members of the 300- seat house voted present, a kind of abstention. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras once again suffered a revolt among his own radical left Syriza party politicians, but had no trouble passing the draft legislation with the backing of pro- European opposition parties.
The number of disaffected Syriza politicians, who see the reforms as a betrayal of the anti- austerity platform that brought their party to power in January, shrunk slightly compared to last week’s similar vote. The reforms were the final prerequisite before Greece can start negotiations with creditors on a third bailout worth around 85 billion euros ($ 93 billion).
Failure to have approved them would have derailed the bailout and rekindled fears over Greece’s future in the shared euro currency.
Addressing parliament before the vote, Mr Tsipras said the reforms were a necessary price to pay to keep Greece alive after stormy talks with its creditors nearly collapsed earlier this month.
“We have chosen a compromise that forces us to implement a program in which we do not believe, and we will implement it because the alternatives are tough,” he told politicians. “We are summoned today to legislate under a state of emergency.”
Mr Tsipras also ruled out resigning.