Global Independent Analytics

Greek lawmakers vote for austerity as protests turn ugly

Greece's parliament has voted -- by a razor-thin margin -- to cut pensions and increase taxes ahead of a crucial meeting in Brussels

Euan McKirdy for CNN reports: on the Monday conference in Brussels Eurozone finance ministers will again debate whether to provide financial support to the beleaguered country.

Late Sunday evening administration of Greek PM Alexis Tsipras passed pension and tax reforms, which cover the majority of a €5.4 billion ($6.15B) package of austerity measures requested by creditors. A slim majority of lawmakers, 153 of 296, voted in favor of the bill.

The vote session was designed to convince Eurozone finance ministers that Greece is serious about financial reform -- a necessary condition for a further rescue package -- and, crucially -- Greek debt relief from the Eurozone.

"We are determined, at all costs, to make Greece stand on its feet again and to break this abscess of corruption that was governing all these years and led the country to bankruptcy. And we will do it," Tsipras said.

Before and during the vote, Greek protesters have filled the streets expressing their disapproval for the coming economic reforms.

“On Sunday evening, police and masked demonstrators clashed outside of the parliament buildings in Athens. Petrol bombs were thrown by protestors and police used tear gas and flashbang grenades to disperse the demonstrators, CNN affiliate CNN Greece reported.

Greece's two biggest labor unions are protesting for the third day in a row, with PAME (All Workers Militant Front) and GSEE (General Confederation of Workers of Greece), holding demonstrations in the center of Athens and all over Greece.

Union members started early in the morning and the groups holding banners and marched towards the parliament, shouting slogans against the new austerity measures,” continues McKirdy.

Greece's main opposition New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis opposed the measures.

"Greece is being discredited on a daily basis because of your slowness, your incompetence, your lies and your fixations," he told his opposite number in parliament.

"Every day you remain in power, Greece, unfortunately, slides deeper into being a 'failed state,' because you chip away at institutions, you erode democracy and you contaminate politics."

He characterized the measures proposed by Tsipras a "tombstone for any possible growth for the Greek economy."

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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