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Greek MPs adopt controversial bill tied to EU-IMF loans

Reuters | Last Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 04:42

Athens: Greece`s Parliament narrowly approved an omnibus bill of reforms tied to the country`s next tranche of EU-IMF loans, the Parliament Speaker said.

Despite 11th hour attempts by the opposition to delay the vote, parties backing the government carried the tough articles that had caused dissent within the coalition partners by a slim majority yesterday.
The first article including controversial reforms for milk passed with 152 votes against 135 in the 300-member parliament.

The second article including the reforms for the banks was passed by 151 votes against 136.
Former Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, member of the PASOK, the socialist party member of the ruling coalition, refrained from voting for this article.
"With great optimism and strength we are moving ahead ...We made a huge step forward for the Greece of the future", Greek Prime Minister said in a statement after the omnibus bill was ratified by the Parliament.
Antonis Samaras also announced the expulsion of a New Democracy -- the other ruling coalition party -- lawmaker, Nikitas Kaklamanis who didn`t vote for the first article containing milk and other reforms based on the OECD toolkit to improve competition in the country.

Earlier, Greece`s main opposition Syriza party had called for a dissent and censure motion against Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, in an attempt to push back the crucial vote on reforms.

Syriza`s leader Alexis Tsipras who branded the new bill "a crime committed against the people and our country", accused Stournaras of being "the main administrator of the death contract against Greek society".

The motion was rejected. As the parliament debated the bill up to 7,000 people protested outside.

Finance Minister accused Syriza of attempting an "unprecedented parliamentary coup" adding that the government "had an appropriate reply to those who chose populism."

First Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 04:42
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