Greek parliament authorises government to negotiate proposal

Athens, July 11 (IANS) The Greek parliament on Saturday authorised the government to proceed with last minute negotiations on its proposal for a debt deal with its creditors.

The proposal was passed by the plenum with 251 votes in favour versus 32 against with 291 deputies participating in the roll call vote in the 300-member strong assembly, Xinhua news agency reported.

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.

Athens’ proposals for a new set of tax hikes, pension cuts and economic reforms in exchange of a 53.2 billion euro (about $55 billion) third bailout programme 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 European Union (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.

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