Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has secured the votes he needs to pass a package of spending cuts that include controversial labour reform measures demanded by Greece’s international creditors.As was expected, the vote came right down to the wire, with 153 lawmakers voting to pass the bill, only two more than the 151 votes required.
Six members of PASOK, a junior member of the coalition government, have been expelled from the party by Evangelos Venizelos for defecting and voting against the measures.
Highlighting how the mighty have fallen, Kathimerini deputy editor Nick Malkoutzis tweeted:
— Nick Malkoutzis (@NickMalkoutzis) November 7, 2012
Samaras expelled one member of the ruling New Democracy party as well for voting against the measures. That leaves New Democracy with 126 MPs.
The vote paves the way for disbursement of the next tranche of bailout aid to the Greek government, which Samaras has said will run out of cash by mid-November otherwise.
More aid for Greece will now be discussed by eurozone finance ministers at the upcoming Eurogroup meeting on November 12.
ORIGINAL: While violent protests over austerity have engulfed Syntagma Square outside of the Greek parliament this evening, a heated debate has been raging inside the parliamentary chambers as well.
The debate over austerity in parliament comes ahead of a crucial vote on a package of labour reforms (spending cuts) demanded by Greece’s troika lenders in exchange for more bailouts.
In just a few minutes, at midnight in Athens (5 PM ET), lawmakers will take the austerity bill to a vote, and it’s expected to be extremely close.
And the stakes are high: if the bill doesn’t pass, it will set up an even bigger showdown between Greece and the EU than it’s already engaged in, and the spectre of not receiving additional aid and going bankrupt, according to Citi economists, may put a near-term Greek exit back on the table.
We will have LIVE coverage of the vote here. Click for the latest updates >
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