Greece’s Parliament passed the bitter austerity measures in the early morning hours of Monday morning by 199 in favor to 74 against, fulfilling a crucial condition set by European partners and creditors to approve a climacteric 130-billion-euro bailout plan that will also open the way for a “haircut” of the mounting Greek debt. The vote, which along with images of widespread rioting and fires in central Athens, generated extensive international news coverage in the previous hours, capped off a day-long marathon of debate, speeches, grandstanding, meetings and press “leaks”. The new parliamentary map on Monday morning equals to this: PASOK with 131
seats, ND with 62 seats, LAOS with 14 seats, the Communist Party of
Greece (KKE) with 21 seats, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA
parliamentary alliance) with 9 seats, and shockingly 63 Independents!
More precisely, out of the 300 MPs in Parliament, 278 were present for the vote, with five deputies voting “present”. Twenty New Democracy (ND) deputies voted against, while one former minister and current ND MP was not present at the vote. According to reports immediately after the crucial vote, ND leader Antonis Samaras expelled the 21 MPs from the party’s Parliament group and from the party itself.
On PASOK’s side, which up until November 2011 was the ruling party, 13 PASOK MPs voted against, whereas seven were not present, according to the latest report. Sanctions were also expected by the party against its dissenting deputies.
The third party supporting the Papademos government, the small right-of-centre LAOS party, witnessed the two of its MPs holding Cabinet seats voting in favour of the bill, while the rest of the party’s MPs voted against — as per the instruction of LA.O.S leader George Karatzaferis.
Two LAOS deputies, Makis Voridis and Adonis Georgiadis, were also expelled from the party moments after the vote.
In terms of the specific articles, 190 voted for Article I, as opposed to 83 against and five declaring “present”. This specific article was the most controversial, as it dealt with a decrease in the minimum wage.
The three remaining articles received slightly more support, two to three votes more.
The Independents in the House now number 63, making them the second largest grouping in the Greek parliament. (Combined reports – amna)