Greek Parliament passes new austerity measures amid violent protests

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Athens, Greece (4E) – Despite protest from 50,000 people outside the Greek Parliament in Athens, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was able to get enough support from lawmakers to pass austerity measures needed for the country to receive bailout funds.

The bill, which was approved on Thursday by a vote of 153-128 in the 300-member parliament, will see further cuts in pensions and salaries.

The vote also resulted in the expulsion of some dissenting members of Samaras’ coalition after failing to support the bill. Pasok, the main coalition partner of the prime minister’s ruling party, expelled six ministers when they decided to vote against the measure.

The bill comprises spending cuts and tax hikes worth 13.5bn euros ($17bn) over a two-year period. It is seen as an important step for the Greek government to avoid bankruptcy as it allows them to receive the next instalment of rescue funds from international creditors.

Samaras has said that the country’s euro funds will only last until Nov. 16.

Lawmakers voted for the bill as the general strike that shut down public services and transport entered its second day.

About 50,000 protesters joined the rally against the austerity measures, making it one of the biggest protests in Greece since the crisis broke out in 2009.

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