Greece passes budget, waits nervously for bailout approval
Greece has passed its budget at the last minute, which may nor may not leave enough time for European leaders to reach a judgment to give Greece its next bailout payment in time to avoid bankruptcy on Wednesday.
Greece’s government sailed through a vote on the 2013 national budget shortly after midnight on Sunday, with almost all the coalition MPs backing the economic plan after two days of debate.
A total of 167 deputies voted in favour of the budget. Former minister Costas Skandalidis, ousted from PASOK earlier in the week for not backing spending cuts and structural reforms, voted in favour of the legislation, giving the government an extra vote. Giorgos Kasapidis, ejected from New Democracy for the same reason on Wednesday, also backed the bill.
However, there was a surprise for the coalition when Democratic Left MP Yiannis Panousis was absent for the vote. Two of the party’s deputies who voted against Wednesday’s measures, also opposed the budget.
All of the New Democracy and PASOK lawmakers supported the legislation. A total of 128 deputies voted against the budget. Four MPs voted “present”. Only Panousis was absent.
In his speech moments before the vote, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras insisted that the coalition was on the right track to keep Greece in the euro.