NEWS

Greek lawmakers pass austerity plan

Greek lawmakers on Wednesday backed more belt-tightening measures, despite fresh violence in the streets, seen as necessary for securing international funds to prevent default.

Only one Socialist deputy, Panayiotis Kouroublis, resisted the call by Prime Minister George Papandreou to back the austerity package.

However, the socialist government received support from conservative opposition lawmaker Elsa Papadimitriou. New Democracy had opposed the package.

As deputies debated inside Parliament, riot police made extensive use of pepper spray to push back protesters, who were pelting police with bottles and trash. Ten people were treated in hospital with minor injuries.

Analysts had said that a no vote would push Greece to the brink of default as soon as next month warning of a spillover to European and international markets.

The package involves 28 billion euro ($40 billion) worth of tax hikes and spending cuts over five years. Greece’s international creditors, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, had set passing the package as a condition for releasing the next 12 billion euro ($17 billion) installment of the country’s bailout fund.

A separate bill detailing how the measures will be enforced must also be passed in a vote Thursday.