Greek Parliament Passes Austerity Measures

A weak majority of 153 out of 300 signals new draconian measures.

New Statesman
Protesters outside parliament in Athens

Last night the Greek parliament voted to introduce further austerity measures to procure yet another bailout package of €13.5 billion.

Following a lengthy parliamentary debate, the votes were cast just before 12.30 am Greek time. In the 300-seat house, the measures were approved by a weak majority of 153.

One MP from prime minister Antonis Samaras’s New Democracy party and six from the socialist PASOK party voted against the bill. All seven were immediately ejected from their parties. The tripartite alliance’s smallest partner, the Democratic Left, had abstained from the vote.

While the debate was taking place, 100,000 protesters gathered in the rain outside to voice their anger at the prospect of yet further draconian measures. Police deployed tear gas and water canon against the crowds.

“The package was the first step and the budget will now go well,” said Samaras, referring to the parliament’s next challenge of Sunday night’s budget debate. Unlike the austerity debate, this is expected to be supported by Democratic Left.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the opposition party Syriza, criticised the prime minister for not sticking to his election pledges. He added that he believed these were not the last austerity measures that Greece would face. Summing up a growing sentiment in the country he said: "Europe needs Greece as much as Greece needs Europe.”