Greece approves austerity plan

Greece approves austerity plan
# 07 May 2010 10:52 (UTC +04:00)
Baku - APA-Economics. The Greek parliament has approved draconian austerity measures demanded by Athens’ eurozone partners and the IMF in return for a $155.56 billion bailout to avert a financial meltdown, Herald Sun reported.

The Socialist government overnight won backing for spending cuts and tax hikes with 172 votes in favour out of 296 lawmakers present, as thousands of demonstrators protested outside. Socialists and the far-right voted in favour, while 121 conservative, communist and radical left lawmakers voted against.

Pushed to the brink of default, the Greek government agreed last weekend to slash spending and jack up taxes in return for 110 billion euros ($155.56 billion) in loans over three years from eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.

Under the plan, the government is to cut 13th and 14th month bonus pay for civil servants and retirees, require three years more for pension contributions, and raise the retirement age for women to 65. On the eve of the vote, Greece was paralysed by a general strike and three people died in firebombed bank in central Athens as huge protests degenerated into rioting.

The unprecedented plan aims to cut the public deficit by 30 billion euros ($42.43 billion) to bring it to less than three per cent of output by 2014 from nearly 14 per cent last year. More than 10,000 people demonstrated peacefully in Athens as lawmakers voted on the drastic austerity package with about 5,000 trade union protesting in front of the parliament, police spokesman Thanassis Kokalakis said.

The protesters unfurled a long black cloth in a sign of mourning for three people who died in the bank firebombing. Meanwhile, the PAME communist union drew 6,000 protesters at a separate square in central Athens, Mr Kokalakis said.

Greece’s main unions have condemned yesterday’s deadly violence, while calling on their members to keep up the momentum of demonstrations against the planned spending cuts and tax hikes.
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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED