Greece's parliament authorized on early Saturday the government to proceed with last minute negotiations on its proposal for a debt deal with international lenders on the eve of the critical deadline for Grexit set by European partners.
The bill was passed by the plenum with 251 votes in favor versus 32 against with 291 deputies participating in the roll call vote in the 300-member strong assembly. Eight MPs opted to abstain.
The government narrowly escaped the loss of parliamentary majority, as 17 lawmakers of the ruling SYRIZA party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras which holds 149 seats in parliament abstained, were absent or voted no.
Among legislators who were absent were former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, Speaker of Parliament Zoe Konstantopoulou and two cabinet ministers.
The ruling coalition's parliamentary majority was saved by the deputies of the right-wing Independent Greeks who hold 13 seats in parliament.
Despite the blow, the leftist prime minister won an overwhelming majority, as three opposition parties handed him the mandate to negotiate and bring back a debt deal to avert a looming bankruptcy and Grexit, namely a Greek exit from the eurozone.
Athens' proposals for a new set of tax hikes, pension cuts and economic reforms in exchange of a 53.2-billion-euro third bailout program through the European Stability Mechanism over the next three years will be examined by the Eurogroup later on Saturday.
Without a debt deal at the upcoming eurozone and EU summits on Sunday, partners have warned they may show Greece the exit from the European common currency zone.
Banks have been closed in Greece for the past two weeks running out of cash and no further aid provided by international lenders.