Sunday, February 12, 2012

Greek parliament is to vote on new austerity measures

Riot police deploys during a 48-hour general strike in front of the Parliament in Athens on February 10, 2012.

Source: Press TV

The Greek parliament is set to decide in a matter of hours whether to impose another round of austerity measures on the nation in efforts to win a new EU bailout package.

The Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos Cabinet approved the draft bill early on Saturday despite massive public protests and resistance by some cabinet members.

Papademos promised “to do everything necessary” to ensure parliament passes the new controversial austerity measures on Sunday.

"The Greek parliament is asked to take a historic responsibility, examine and authorize the new economic program of Greece, the pre-condition for financing the country over the coming years," he said.

The Greek premier warned of "economic and social catastrophe" if the Parliament does not pass the austerity measures.

The two parties in the ruling coalition, the conservatives and the socialists of PASOK back the measures, but two socialist junior ministers and four members of the far-right LAOS Party quit the cabinet in protest.

Following the resignation of the ministers, Papademos vowed to replace any cabinet ministers that oppose his policies.

Police scuffled with thousands of demonstrators that showed up at Syntagma Square in Athens on Saturday to protest the unpopular austerity measures demanded by the eurozone and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for a second bailout package worth 130 billion euros to help the country avoid bankruptcy.

Austerity cuts have been the cause of several anti-government demonstrations in Greece since early 2011. Many of the rallies have at times turned violent, leaving scores of protesters injured.

The Greek public debt currently stands at around EUR 350 billion, more than 160 percent of its gross domestic product.

Despite the austerity cuts and the bailout funds, which have been aimed at stimulating growth for the troubled Greek economy, the country has been in recession since 2009.

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