Greece gears to han­dle third bil­lion- euro bailout

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

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.

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