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Greek Parliament Votes Bailout Deal After Tempestuous Marathon Session

parliamentThe Greek Parliament voted on Friday morning the omnibus bill that could provide Greece with a three-year bailout program worth about 85 billion euros as 222 MPs voted in favor, 64 voted against and 11 voted “present.”
Greek MPs argued all night over the bailout deal and its harsh austerity reforms. The parliamentary sessions were tempestuous with government and opposition throwing accusations at each other. Finally, the vote started at 9:30 am.
The ratification of the omnibus bill of reforms was required before the draft agreement goes to the Eurozone Finance Ministers who will convene on Friday afternoon to decide whether to approve Greece’s much-needed financial aid.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke last before the vote and said that the deal is needed, despite the fact that harsh austerity reforms are required. Tsipras reiterated that the bailout agreement is the obvious choice, otherwise the country would go bankrupt and slide into economic chaos.
Opposition parties New Democracy, PASOK, and “To Potami” stated that they disagree with most of the reforms, however they would vote in favor of the deal so that they secure the country’s place in the Eurozone and the European Union.
Tsipras also faced dissent within his SYRIZA party, with several of his Ministers voting “no” or “present.” Most conspicuous were the resounding “nos” from Parliament President Zoe Konstantopoulou, former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis. The latter is reportedly ready to start a new leftist party.
Earlier, Konstantopoulou snubbed Tsipras’ request to speed up procedures so that the bailout bill could be voted on well before the Eurogroup in Brussels.
Instead, the Parliament President raised a long series of procedural questions and objections that held up proceedings until 9:30 am on Friday.

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