Monday November 24, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
18o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greek Parliament passes new austerity package with tiny majority

The coalition government narrowly passed an omnibus bill containing structural reforms and austerity measures shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

A total of 153 out of 300 MPs approved the measures, which pave the way for Greece to receive its next tranche of bailout founding - 128 deputies voted against the package, while 18 voted «present».

The vote, however, came at a cost for the coalition as it lost several MPs. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos ejected six lawmakers from his party for voting against the package. This included former minister Costas Skandalidis, who was rumored to be mounting a leadership challenge. The move reduces the number of PASOK lawmakers to 27.

One MP was ejected from New Democracy, reducing the conservative party's tally of deputies to 126.

Addressing Parliament a few hours before the vote, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras appealed to MPs to back the package, noting that Greece’s future in the eurozone was at stake. “Today we are voting on whether we stay in euro or we return to isolation,” he said. Samaras admitted that cuts to salaries and pensions were unfair but insisted that they they would be the last and any “future adjustments” would be limited to curbing tax evasion and waste.

He said the changes being pursued by his government constituted “a revolution.” The key goal remained the release of a 31.5-billion-euro tranche of rescue funding, he said, noting that only 3.2 billion euros of this amount that would go toward serving Greece’s debt.

Socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos struck a similar note, saying that Greece had two options. “One is dramatically difficult, the other total disaster,” he said. The Socialist leader lashed out at the leader of leftist opposition SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras, accusing him of “investing in the country’s political death” by calling for new elections.

Earlier Tsipras had repeated demands for snap polls, noting that the coalition had reneged on its promises. Tsipras said the government’s efforts to secure an extension for fiscal adjustment were redundant. “The only extension we need is for the rope with which we will hang ourselves.”

The leader of the junior coalition partner Dmocratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis, for his part, defended his party’s opposition to changes to labor laws. “Some insist that labor reforms are a secondary issue. That is not so. Labor laws are a road map for Greece after the crisis.” “We don’t want to be part of rebuilding the country after a collapse,” he said.

Before the party leaders’ speeches there had been a different type of drama in Parliament. Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras retracted a proposed amendment to include parliamentary employees in cuts to civil service salaries, after the employees threatened to strike, though he said the bill would be resubmitted.

Earlier in the day, left-wing SYRIZA and right-wing Independent Greeks caused upheaval in Parliament by calling for a snap vote on whether the austerity package was constitutional while a larger number of coalition MPs had been absent from the House. The vote went ahead despite SYRIZA’s attempt to withdraw it after coalition deputies returned to Parliament to avert a possible challenge.

Between 70,000 and 100,000 people gathered outside Parliament from about 6 p.m. to protest ahead of the vote. The peaceful protest was broken up later when rioters clashed with police. Molotov cocktails were thrown and officers responded with tear gas and water cannons. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court deemed that proposed reductions to judges’ wages were unconstitutional. The Court of Audit had also deemed the measures to be in violation of the Constitution.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday November 8, 2012 (00:35)  
Cyprus on agenda in Biden visit to Istanbul
PASOK nixes Papandreou leadership challenge
Troika tests gov’t nerves as budget rift persists
Climate change to hit farming, Greek coastline
ANALYSIS
Athens deserves slack from creditors
Talks between the government and the troika about the pending review of the Greek economic policy program have stalled over a number of issues, most prominently next year’s fiscal gap. Altho...
Transfer tax to be based on actual property cost, not objective value
The government intends to provide a boost to the local real estate market by reducing the tax on property transactions as of 2015, with the aim of attracting foreign investors by cutting the...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Olympiakos ends PAOK´s unbeaten run in Basket League
Olympiakos put an end to PAOK’s unbeaten run in the Basket League with an emphatic win at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, leaving Panathinaikos as the only team with a perfect record so fa...
INTERVIEW
Tokyo hopes to change the world
The 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will serve as a springboard for the rebuilding of Japan’s image and economy following the triple blow of the earthquake, tsunami and nuc...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Extremism from a bygone era
There are times when we seem to be overcome by self-destructive madness. I hear various commentators and politicians speaking in extreme terms of a junta, of defections, gallows, collaborato...
EDITORIAL
No call for more games
Psychological warfare has been a part of the negotiations between the troika and Athens from the very start of the crisis. But the situation is much different now and troika decision-makers ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Olympiakos ends PAOK´s unbeaten run in Basket League
2. Athens deserves slack from creditors
3. Transfer tax to be based on actual property cost, not objective value
4. Key general meeting at OLP on Tuesday
5. Agenda
6. Carlsberg to use Greece as regional junction
more news
Today
This Week
1. Extremism from a bygone era
2. No call for more games
3. Carlsberg to use Greece as regional junction
4. Transfer tax to be based on actual property cost, not objective value
5. Key general meeting at OLP on Tuesday
6. Agenda
Today
This Week
1. Double quake on Atalanti fault line rattles Greek capital [Update]
2. Biden heads to Istanbul amid tension over Cyprus EEZ violation
3. Anti-junta uprising anniversary to be marked amid tight security
4. Carlsberg takes control of Greek brewer Olympic Brewery [Update]
5. Every age has its collaborators
6. Give Greece a chance
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.