Friday, July 1, 2011

Greek MPs pass second austerity vote

The Greek Parliament

Source: Press TV

Greek parliamentarians have passed a second vote on the disputed austerity plan demanded by international creditors, fanning the flames of new wave of protests.

The final count on Thursday showed that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou secured 155 yes votes out of 300 lawmakers to enforce the bill that lays the groundwork for the release of crucial bailout funds, AP reported.

The first vote on the austerity measures was adopted on Wednesday with 155 votes in favor and 138 against.

The European Union said Greece had now met the conditions set by the eurozone to receive EUR 12 billion -- the latest installment of an EUR 110 billion bailout program to help Greece avoid defaulting on its debts.

Greece's newly-approved austerity plan is worth some EUR 28 billion and includes a privatization program aimed at raising EUR 50 billion and further budget cuts as well as tax increases.

Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble announced on Thursday the contribution of EUR 3.2 billion to the plan.

Greece has a debt of over EUR 300 billion, which is worth more than 150 percent of its annual economic output.

Parliament debates over the austerity measures have been accompanied by strikes and violent protests.

On Wednesday, violent clashes were reported outside parliament, where protesters earlier tried to prevent lawmakers from entering.

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