Greek cuts bill makes it past parliament test

 
Ben Southwood
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GREEK LAWMAKERS late last night approved the austerity bill necessary to secure the next tranche of bailout funds from their creditors.

The two main governing parties faced down a rebellion from junior coalition partner Democratic Left, and seven of their own MPs, to pass the 500-odd page bill, containing €13.5bn (£10.8bn) worth of cuts 153 to 128.

But the success was marred by the rebellion of seven representatives – one from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s New Democracy Party and six from socialist coalition partner Pasok. All seven deputies were promptly expelled from their parties.

Calling on the 300 representatives to the house to pass the bill, Samaras described the vote as a make or break situation. “Today we vote on whether we will remain in the Eurozone or return to international isolation, meet completely bankruptcy, and end up in the Drachma,” he warned the chamber.

If the government can also pass the 2013 budget – which is expected to be brought to parliament on Sunday – then they stand to receive €31.5bn of aid from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. Without the bailout, Greece may be unable to pay creditors.