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Parliament adopts austerity bill, Tsipras kicks ball in creditors’ court

Lawmakers of the coalition government left-wing SYRIZA and nationalists Independent Greeks adopted the omnibus bill with new austerity measures 4.9 billion euros for the years 2018-2021. prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said right after the voting he expects form creditors to commit to debt relief measures.

All 153 government lawmakers voted YES for the bill “in principle”. NO voted 128 opposition lawmakers.

Present were 281 MPs. Absent was the parliamentary group of extreme right-wing Golden Dawn and two MPs from New Democracy who voted per letter.

Former SYRIZA minister, MP Tasia Christodoulopoulou voted “present” to the article concerning teachers’ lay-offs.

Almost the whole of the opposition voted in favor of two articles: the one for reducing to 13% the Value Added Tax for agricultural supplies for farmers and the Article that scraps tax-free for lawmakers.

PM Tsipras: Creditors’ turn to fulfill their commitment

After the vote, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent the message Greece’s creditors to honor their commitments on the debt relief.

“With the voting Greece has fully honored its commitments. Now the ball is in lenders’ court to fulfill commitments, ” Tsipras said. In view of the Eurogroup meeting on Monday, he called on lenders to proceed with decisions on debt relief.

Legislation of the additional austerity measures was a precondition the creditors put on the table in order to conclude the second review.

Tsipras has said there the measures will not be implemented if there was no debt relief or the International Monetary Fund stays out of the Greek program.

Golden Dawn

Along with the 16 party MPs, leader of Golden Dawn, Nikos Michaloliakos, sent a letter to Palriament Speaker, Nikos Voutsis, saying “we do

The head of Golden Dawn, Nikos Michalaliados, along with his 16 deputies, sent a letter to the House Speaker Nikos Voutsis saying that “we do not want to legitimize with our presence a void, illegal process”.  At the same time, they said that they vote against the bill and declared “unconstitutional” their exclusion from the debate on the omnibus bill.

Michaloliakos said in a short statement to the press that Golden Dawn will seek the European Court of Human Rights.

The Plenary of the Greek Parliament had decided on Wednesday to expel from the debate the parliamentary group of Golden Dawn. Reason for this decision was an unprecedented incident between a GD MP and an MP from New Democracy beginning of the week.

Tsakalotos’ Epic Remark

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos made an epic remark short before the voting. He urged lawmakers to refrain from ‘objections’ to his speech saying:

“9 out of 10 Greeks are watching The Survivor. We are alone, therefore no need for objections…”

Survivor is a popular reality show that was broadcast the same time as the debate in the Parliament.

PS I’ve seen balls jumping from court to court and they all land in our court… Greece leads in Austerity Super League.

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