Greece sends second bill on bailout measures to parliament

GMT 11:14 2015 Tuesday ,21 July

Arab Today, arab today Greece sends second bill on bailout measures to parliament

Taxi drivers wait for customers near the greek parliament
Athens - AFP

The Greek government on Tuesday presented parliament with draft legislation on a second batch of measures that must pass if it is to receive its huge international bailout, a parliamentary source said.

Lawmakers are due to vote on the measures Wednesday in a fresh test of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' authority, after he suffered a major rebellion in his Syriza party during a vote on a first tranche of bailout measures last week.

The second bill includes an EU directive, adopted after the financial crisis in Cyprus in 2013, that guarantees bank deposits up to 100,000 euros ($108,000), as well as civil justice reforms designed to speed up legal proceedings and reduce their costs.

Civil servants' union ADEDY said it would stage a protest against the bill on Wednesday evening during the emergency debate in parliament.

The Greek government, led by the radical-left Syriza party, agreed last week to carry out tough reforms in exchange for a three-year international bailout of up to 86 billion euros ($93 billion) aimed at keeping Greece from crashing out of the eurozone.

Tsipras managed to push a series of unpopular reforms through parliament last Wednesday -- including sweeping changes to Greece's taxes, pensions and labour rules -- but only with the help of pro-European opposition parties. Within Syriza, 32 of the party's 149 MPs voted against the measures, and a further six abstained.

Analysts forecast that Tsipras' coalition government, which teams his party with the nationalist Independent Greeks, will be forced to call early elections if the revolt within Syriza continues.

But the administration, in power for only six months, hopes to see a smaller rebellion in Wednesday's vote.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reshuffled his cabinet on Friday to fill the vacancies left by three members who were sacked after voting against the first batch of reforms.

Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili on Monday said elections would not be "useful at the moment," adding: "The government has no intention of organising any."

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