Greek MPs vote for austerity package

  • 16/07/2015

Greece's parliament has approved tough austerity measures demanded by the country's creditors in return for a new bailout.

A final count showed 229 MPs voted in favour of the reform bill, with 64 voting against and six abstaining.

The ruling radical Syriza party passed the bill thanks to support from pro-European opposition parties, as a large group of government MPs - including former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis - voted against the measures.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras insisted he did not agree with the bulk of the draconian deal, that demands tax hikes, a pensions overhaul and privatisation pledges.

But he said the country had no other choice if it wanted to stay in the euro.

"We will not back down from our pledge to fight to the end for the right of the working people," he told the chamber ahead of the vote.

"There is no other option but for all of us to share the weight of this responsibility."

Tsipras and eurozone counterparts agreed to the tough reforms on Monday (local time) in order to unlock a new rescue package for Greece worth up to 86 billion euros.

The deal angered many in his own party and other leftwing supporters, with the majority of Greeks voting against similar austerity terms in a referendum on July 5.

Thursday's vote followed violent demonstrations on the streets of Athens, with firebombs thrown by some anti-austerity protesters outside of the parliament.

"We have been betrayed!" shouted a man in a balaclava, as police used pepper spray and gas to stop a crowd breaching a security line blocking off the road to the prime minister's office.

Officers could be seen dragging protesters away in handcuffs, with some 40 people detained.

Four policemen were injured by flying debris and a television van parked nearby was set on fire, along with dumpsters and a Greek flag.

"Our government is a government of traitors. We voted 'No' then Tsipras signs up to even worse conditions. It's madness," said Arsenios Pappas, 35, before the violence broke out.