Io Chokona / Athens, July 23 () - Greece’s parliament overwhelmingly approved a new reform package, demanded by the country’s creditors, openin the door for talks on a third multi-billion euro credit package as the Syriza government passes the hard crash test on early Thursday.
Lawmakers voted 230-63 in favor of the measures, amid a debate in the parliament and protests in the streets. Another 5 members of the 300-seat house voted present, a kind of objection.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras suffered a revolt among his own Syriza party lawmakers, with a total 36 objection, including 31 "no" and 5 "present", 3 less than previous voting on July 15. The surprising of the voting was the "yes" vote of former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, whose vote was a "no" in July 15 voting.
Before the debate started in the parliament, about more than 10 thousand people protested the bill infront of the building, but no injuries or arrests were reported.
Before the vote, Tsipras urged lawmakers to support the bill including hard austerity measures, which he said would back Greece to stay in the Eurozone. “We made difficult choices and now we must all adapt to the new situation” he said, repeating that he doesn’t agree with many of the reforms.
Tsipras was again backed by Greece’s main opposition parties, although they also criticised the PM for leading the country to the brink.
The reforms were the final prerequisite before Greece can start negotiations with creditors on a third bailout worth around 86 billion euros.
The Greek government, led by the Syriza party, agreed last week to carry out tough reforms in exchange for a three-year credit of up to 86 billion euros aimed at keeping Greece from crashing out of the Eurozone.
Tsipras managed to push a series of unpopular reforms through parliament last Wednesday, including sweeping changes to Greece’s taxes, pensions and labor rules, but only with the help of pro-European opposition parties.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reshuffled his cabinet on July 17 to fill the vacancies left by three members who were sacked after voting against the first batch of reforms.