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Greek lawmakers back 3rd bailout after all-night debate

Friday, 14 August,Athens: Greek lawmakers approved their country’s draft third bailout in a parliamentary vote on Friday that relied on opposition party support and saw the government coalition suffer significant dissent.

The vote came after a marathon all-night session marked by procedural delays and acrimonious debate over the three-year, about 85 billion-euro ($93 billion) rescue package that includes harsh spending cuts and tax hikes.

Unable to borrow on the international markets, another bailout is all that stands between Greece and a disorderly default on its debts that could see it forced out of Europe’s joint currency.

The vote was passed with 222 votes in favor, 64 against, 11 abstentions and three absent in the 300-member parliament.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has come under intense criticism from hardliners within his own radical left Syriza party for capitulating to creditor demands to introduce the austerity measures, and about a quarter of his party’s lawmakers voted against the bill.

The mounting discord, which began with a slightly smaller number dissenting in a previous bailout-related vote last month, is threatening to split his party and could lead to early elections.

Greece needed to pass the bill ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels today afternoon, where the ministers will decide whether to approve the draft agreement.

The deal will also need approval from the parliaments of several other countries, including that of Greece’s harshest critic, Germany, before any funds can be disbursed. Some nations, such as Finland, have already given their approval.

Dissenters in Tsipras’ own party angrily challenged the government, accusing it of reneging on anti-austerity promises it made before winning elections last January.

“I feel ashamed for you. We no longer have a democracy … but a eurozone dictatorship,” prominent party member and former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said ahead of the vote.

Lafazanis on yesterday co-signed a declaration along with another 12 left-wing politicians declaring they would start a new anti-austerity movement. He stopped short of quitting Syriza outright, however.