Greek Parliament Barely Passes New Austerity Package
November 8, 2012 2:18 PM EST
Amid more violent demonstrations in Athens, the Greek Parliament approved drastic austerity measures early Thursday to keep the country in the euro zone, but the margin was so slim as to threaten the governing coalition.
After 14 hours of debate, the three-party coalition of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras passed the package by 153 to 128, after several lawmakers broke ranks, The New York Times reported. Eighteen members voted present, the equivalent of a blank vote, including 15 from the smallest coalition party, Democratic Left, which opposes the measures. There was one abstention. After the vote, six lawmakers were expelled from the coalition’s Socialist Pasok party and one from Samaras’ conservative New Democracy.
The measures impose sharp cuts on pensions, salaries and social services, plus tax increases, and raise the retirement age to 67 from 65. Greece’s foreign creditors have demanded that the bill and the 2013 budget, due to be voted on Sunday, pass before they consider releasing an already delayed €31.5 billion installment from Greece’s €240 billion bailout. Without it, Samaras says Greece will run out of money on Nov. 16, the Washington Post reports.
Samaras acknowledged that some of the measures were unfair, but insisted they were vital to avoid bankruptcy and Greece’s forced exit from the euro and reversion to its old currency, the drachma.
“This (bill) will finally rid the country of drachmophobia,” the premier said.
“Many of these measures are fair and should have been taken years ago, without anyone asking us to,” Samaras said. “Others are unfair — cutting wages and salaries — and there is no point in dressing this up as something else.” But, he said, the alternative was bankruptcy that would trigger financial chaos as the country would likely have to leave the 17-country euro bloc.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Forever Lost: Indescribable Anguish for Malaysia Airlines MH17 Families, Remains of Some Victims May Never Be Found (PHOTOS)
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- PageSix: Beyonce & Jay Z Union is Not About Love, All About Business & the Brand
Join the Conversation
- Iran Leader Asks Muslims to Supply Arms to Palestine, Calls Israel ‘Rapacious Wolf’
- El Niño Update: 2014 Threat Easing, ‘Unlikely to be a Strong Event’ – Australia BoM
- “Women should not laugh in public” - Turkish Deputy PM says
- Opinion Poll in New Zealand Shows National Party Far Ahead in Popular Support
- Australia Asked National Media to Suppress Multi-National Corruption Case: WikiLeaks
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha Leaks Online: Release Date, Five Features to Wait for New Smart Phone
- Photos of Motorola Moto X+1 Prototype and Specs Leak Online, Release Date, Four Fresh Features Revealed
- Sony Xperia Z3: Release Date, Five Features to Expect from New Android Smart Phone
- Freshly Leaked Apple iPad Air 2 Cases Confirm Touch ID Sensor; Release Date, Limited Specs and Price Listed
- Top Surprising Features Of iOS 8
- Top 4 Reasons Why iPhone 6 Will Hit Big Soon After its Sept 2014 Release Date
- Twin Malaysia Airlines MH370, MH17 Aviation Disasters Create Phobia Among Travellers