INTERNATIONAL

Greece bill on bailout deal goes to Parliament

Greece’s government on Tuesday submitted tough bailout terms demanded by Eurozone creditors to Parliament, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras battled for support for the draconian reforms from his ruling anti-austerity Syriza party.

With around 30 hard-line Syriza party lawmakers threatening to oppose the latest reforms demanded by Greece's international creditors, Mr. Tsipras faced the unenviable task of turning to pro-European opposition parties to push the deal through parliament by Wednesday.

Pension reforms

In the agreement struck Monday with the Eurozone to prevent Greece crashing out of the euro, the Parliament in Athens must pass sweeping changes to labour laws, pensions, VAT and taxes.

Only then will the 18 other Eurozone leaders start negotiations over what Greece is to get in return: a three-year bailout worth up to €86 billion ($95 billion), its third rescue programme in five years.

With much of his party up in arms, Tsipras loyalists were hard at work to convince sceptics that the cuts could be softened through alternative measures.

But a number of prominent leftists, whose party was voted in January on an anti-austerity ticket, refused to budge.

“The great majority of Syriza organisations oppose this agreement... in terms of labour and pension issues this is worse than the last two bailouts,” lawmaker and parliament vice-president Despoina Haralambidou told Vima FM radio.

Syriza’s junior coalition partner, the nationalist Independent Greeks party (ANEL), said it would not approve the measures but would stay in the government.

French President Francois Hollande insisted there was no humiliation for Greece in the deal struck in Brussels.

Many ordinary Greeks are sceptical the deal can bring any improvement to their lives. Some expressed their anger on social media, with the Twitter hashtag #ThisIsACoup trending.

Greece’s public servants are also to stage a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, the first big stoppage since Tsipras took power. — AFP

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