Greece’s Tsipras to sell aus­ter­ity deal to re­luc­tant party

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras sought his left- wing party’s back­ing on Fri­day for a new bud­get aus­ter­ity pack­age that is harsher than what he urged Greeks to re­ject in a vote just last week, but would pro­vide the coun­try will longer-term fi­nan­cial sup­port.

Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters signed off on the sweep­ing new mea­sures, which in­clude pen­sion cuts and tax in­creases that are likely to in­flict fur­ther pain on a peo­ple that have just emerged from a six-year eco­nomic de­pres­sion.

If ap­proved, Greece would in re­turn get a three- year pack­age of loans worth nearly $ 60 bil­lion as well as some form of debt re­lief. The pack­age would be far larger than the 7.2 bil­lion eu­ros cred­i­tors had been of­fer­ing to Greece dur­ing the pre­vi­ous five months of fruit­less ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Greece’s latest pro­posal was sent to res­cue cred­i­tors who will meet this week­end to de­cide whether to ap­prove them. The new pack­age of loans would be Greece’s third bailout pro­gram since it lost ac­cess to fi­nanc­ing from bond mar­kets in 2010.

In an un­usual move, Tsipras is first seek­ing au­tho­riza­tion from par­lia­ment to ne­go­ti­ate with the cred­i­tors based on the pro­posal in a vote Fri­day. He is es­sen­tially ask­ing his Syriza party to sign off on mea­sures that to many feel like a U-turn since more than 60 per cent of vot­ers op­posed more aus­ter­ity in last Sun­day’s ref­er­en­dum. Tsipras con­vened his party’s law­mak­ers for closed- door dis­cus­sions Fri­day morn­ing be­fore the par­lia­men­tary de­bate. The pro­posal was be­ing de­bated at com­mit­tee level Fri­day af­ter­noon, and it was un­clear when the full assem­bly de­bate would start. Votes are usu­ally held at mid­night, but they can go later.

The coali­tion gov­ern­ment has 162 seats in the 300-mem­ber par­lia­ment and pledged back­ing on a deal from a large sec­tion of op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers. But fail­ure to de­liver votes from his own gov­ern­ment could top­ple Tsipras’ coali­tion. The pro­pos­als are to be dis­cussed by eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters on Satur­day, ahead of a sum­mit of the Euro­pean Union’s 28 lead­ers Sun­day.

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