Parliament to vote on social reform bills Friday

Greece is going ahead with reform measures flouting its bailout obligations, with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Tuesday calling for parliament to vote on a series of social reform bills at the end of the week.

The vote is scheduled to take place Friday, the same day as a controversial deadline imposed by Greece’s eurozone partners at talks that collapsed in Brussels on Monday.

During a speech to SYRIZA’s parliamentary group Tuesday, Tsipras also nominated conservative lawmaker and former minister

Prokopis Pavlopoulos to be the country’s president.

Pavlopoulos, 65, was interior minister from 2004 to 2009 for the conservative New Democracy government.

His appointment to the largely ceremonial role came as a surprise. The most widely expected candidate had been EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. That would have allowed the left-wing Tsipras government to send one of its own members to Brussels.

Pavlopoulos is expected to be voted in by parliament without difficulty.

Attempts to choose a president in December led to new elections when the then-government failed to secure enough parliamentary support for its candidate. [Combined reports]