MPs narrowly approve 30-mln-euro cash injection for main parties

Parliament has voted narrowly in favor of the five parties elected at the previous general elections receiving their state funding as a 30-million-euro lump sum ahead of the upcoming polls.

A total of 155 of 300 MPs voted in favor, 56 voted against, three voted present and 86 were absent.

The amendment will lead to PASOK, New Democracy, the Communist Party (KKE), Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) receiving an overdue instalment of state funding from 2011 and two tranches from this year in one go.

Interior Minister Tassos Giannitsis, who defended the legislation, said he hoped the parties would keep their pledges to use the money to pay unpaid staff and bills.

The amendment was opposed by LAOS and SYRIZA as well as the smaller parties that have emerged since the last elections: Democratic Left, Democratic Alliance and Independent Greeks. KKE lawmakers voted ?present?.

Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyannis said she would take legal action after claiming the legislation was unconstitutional. Other MPs said it was not right for the parties to be receiving this money at a time Greeks were experiencing the effects of austerity.

Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Ragousis of PASOK abstained from the vote and tendered his resignation from the government.

Another three PASOK MPs, including former Deputy Labor Minister Anna Dalara oppose the measure.

Two New Democracy deputies, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Militiadis Varvitsiotis abstained.

Greece?s parties have received some 550 million euros from public coffers during the past decade but PASOK and ND owe about 250 million euros to their banks.