Tsipras win austerity vote after snap poll
ATHENS, Greece – Greece’s parliament has approved a new round of austerity measures – the first major test for leftwing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after snap general elections last month, triggered by dissent over Greece’s latest bailout deal.
Lawmakers early Saturday voted 154-140 in favor of the bill required for a 2 billion-euro ($2.3 billion) loan installment. It is part of Greece’s third major bailout agreement with eurozone lenders, worth 86 billion euros ($98 billion) over three years.
“There are no new measures here. There are difficult measures that we all knew about,” Tsipras said.
That July bailout deal saw Tsipras abandon a pledge to bring an end to austerity and alienated a large section of his radical left Syriza party.
The split forced him to call an early election held on Sept. 20. Syriza came out on top and was able to return to government with the small right-wing Independent Greeks.
Late Friday, several thousand protesters, many from a Communist backed labor union, joined a peaceful anti-austerity rally outside parliament before the vote. Several prominent politicians who were former Tsipras allies joined the protest. “We can’t accept a new crime at the people’s expense. They’re trying to destroy the welfare state. Everyone must fight it,” protester Eleni Menegaki said.
The new cost-cutting measures include penalizing early retirement and expanding a widely hated property tax.