Greek lawmakers voted early Saturday 154-144 to pass the legislation required to unlock a tranche of loans worth 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion). The instalment is part of a bailout agreement with eurozone lenders, under which Athens must implement public spending cuts and tax hikes in order to receive 86 billion euros over three years.
The single-chamber parliament only narrowly adopted the new measures after a heated debate which ended in all six opposition parties voting against the bill. Getting the reforms approved was widely seen as a test for leftwing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was re-elected following snap polls last month.
Conservative leader Vangelis Meimarakis accused the government of clobbering the country with taxesthat he said would prolong a recession. However, Tsipras told opposition lawmakers the legislation should come as no surprise.
“There are no new measures here. There are difficult measures that we all knew about,” he said. “You already knew them when you voted in favour of the July 13 (debt) accord” with the European Union.
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(Photo: Hellenic Parliament/ Aliki Eleftheriou)