ATHENS: Greece’s parliament on Thursday (Jul 23) passed legislation on a second batch of reforms needed to help unlock a huge international bailout for the country’s stricken economy.
The bill, which includes civil justice reforms, a bank deposit protection scheme and measures to shore up the liquidity of the banks, was backed by more than 170 MPs – a clear majority – as voting continued in the 300-seat parliament.
The vote had been regarded as a key test of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ authority after he suffered a major rebellion by MPs in his leftist party Syriza in a separate vote last week on a first tranche of tough reforms demanded by Athens’ international creditors.
Tsipras had to rely on opposition MPs to pass the first bill, which approved sweeping changes to debt-crippled Greece’s taxes, pensions and labour rules – key conditions for opening talks on a bailout worth up to €86 billion (US$93 billion) over three years.
Analysts had regarded the second vote as an important test of whether Tsipras could avoid another deep split within his own party and head off the risk of early elections after only six months in power.
But the Greek prime minister, who is riding high in the opinion polls, appeared to have suffered far fewer defections than in last week’s vote.