July 22, 2015

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Gov't passes crucial bailout bill by 230 votes, 31 SYRIZA MPs vote "NO" - Varoufakis votes YES

The Greek government passed a crucial bailout bill by 230 votes early on Thursday morning in Parliament on a second package of prior actions linked to the third bailout memorandum agreed to with creditors last week, with only 31 SYRIZA MPs voting "NO" this time as opposed to the 39 who did not back the first round of reforms last week. The legislation was opposed by 63 lawmakers, while five abstained.

The new laws include the adoption of a European bank resolution scheme and the change of the civil procedure code. The laws will now protect Greek taxpayers from the cost of bank failures and stipulate that unsecured depositors (with more than 100,000 euros) will face losses before taxpayers. Also, shareholders, senior and junior creditors will be in line to take a hit before depositors. The law will is set to come into effect at the start of 2016.

Rebel "dissenters" include President of the Parliament Zoi Konstantopoulou and former minister Stratoulis and Lafazanis. The BIG SURPRISE came by none other than Yanis (with one 'n') Varoufakis, who decided to vote "YES", but released a statement noting that he was only doing so to help the government buy time since he is convinced that the agreement will fail. It needs to be reminded that a couple of days earlier the former finance minister voted "NO" to the initial one-article framework for the “Greekment”.

While addressing Parliament, and right before the vote, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras said that the balance of power in Europe is one-sided, and dismissed criticism that the referendum he called for on July 5th generated the worse agreement with creditors. He noted that the current deal provides leeway to crush speculation over “Grexit” and opens a prospect for growth and investment to flow into Greece. He then said that his government will tackle corruption, vested interests and tax evasion, and then cited a draft law on broadcast licenses as proof of this.
     "Conservative forces within Europe still insist on their plans to kick Greece out of the euro. We chose a compromise that forces us to implement a program we don’t believe in and we will implement it, because the choices we have are tough. There will be no foreclosures of primary homes, the protection of primary residences, by this government, was, is and will be lasting."
On his part, and while addressing the Greek Parliament main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Vangelis Meimarakis touched on a looming clash between Tsipras and Zoi Konstantopoulou (as well as other leading SYRIZA MPs).

During the duration of the debate, the first sporadic violence was recorded when self-styled anarchist youths, began throwing firebombs at nearby riot police. Luckily, the riot abated quickly.

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