Greece votes to approve new austerity plans and unlock aid

 
Kasmira Jefford
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GREECE’S ruling coalition secured enough parliamentary votes last night to approve a 2013 budget of fresh cuts required to secure more aid from international lenders and stave off bankruptcy.

The budget was backed by 167 votes to 128 – a more comfortable margin than a separate package of deficit-cutting measures voted through on Wednesday on which some of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ allies had abstained.

Lawmakers from the Democratic Left party, the smallest coalition party, which rebelled last week, all voted in favour of the budget.

Passing both bills had been necessary to unblock more than €30bn (£24bn) in funds from the European Union and International Monetary Fund before cash ran out.

A demonstration called by trade unions and communists mustered thousands of protesters outside parliament yesterday evening against the austerity measures, but the numbers were a small fraction of the almost 100,000 who gathered outside the legislature last week.