In Greece, ‘Fiscal Suicide’ Was Not an Option
Posted on Jun 29, 2011
Despite thousands of protesters’ fierce opposition to the PM’s austerity plan and with calls of “traitor” ringing in their ears, members of the Greek Parliament voted Wednesday in favor of economic solvency rather than popular opinion.
The Socialist Party passed the stringent plan with a simple majority vote along party lines, 155 to 138, opening the door to the conditionally offered $17 billion bailout by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. —BF
The New York Times:
On hearing the result of the vote, some outraged protesters waged running battles with police in the streets around the Parliament, television images showed.
The measures approved Wednesday include tax increases, wage cuts and the privatization of 50 billion euros, or about $72 billion, in state assets. A second vote will be held Thursday to enact the measures, with crucial sticking points expected to include the timing of the privatizations, especially of the state electric utility, the Public Power Corporation, whose powerful union has close ties to the Socialists.
The vote was conducted by roll call after several hours of debate in which most Socialist legislators said they would back the measures, in some cases only grudgingly, and with most stressing that patriotic duty must go before party ideals.
AP / Giorgos Kontarinis / Eurokinissi
Socialist Party members in the Greek Parliament applaud after passage of new austerity measures on Wednesday.