NEWS

Finance minister 'fairly confident' regarding crucial vote

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras appeared ?fairly confident? on Friday that a fresh batch of austerity measures and structural reforms demanded by Greece?s lenders in exchange for the country receiving a new tranche of bailout aid will get a majority vote in Parliament.

Speaking to journalists following a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Stournaras stressed that following the Greek Parliament vote, other eurozone Parliaments were scheduled to vote on bills regarding further aid for Greece, implying that time was running out, given that public coffers would be strapped for cash within November.

A vote regarding structural reforms is expected to take place on Wednesday, before the ballot on the 2013 national budget is held at midnight on Sunday, November 11.

On Wednesday, only 148 of nearly 180 coalition MPs supported the government?s privatization bill. The bill, which paves the way for the sell-off of public utilities, passed because not all 300 deputies voted.

Junior coalition partner Democratic Left, which did not back the privatization bill, has repeatedly stated that it will oppose the reforms unless changes to labor regulations proposed by the troika are withdrawn. At the same time, PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos faced dissent within the Socialist party on Thursday, as an MP disengaged himself from the party and another five deputies threatened to reject the measures.

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