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Greece passes second austerity bill

The Greek parliament passed a second austerity bill on Thursday, opening the way for the EU and IMF to release a 12 billion euro ($17 billion) loan installment which Athens urgently needs to stave off bankruptcy.

world Updated: Jul 01, 2011 00:29 IST

The Greek parliament passed a second austerity bill on Thursday, opening the way for the EU and IMF to release a 12 billion euro ($17 billion) loan installment which Athens urgently needs to stave off bankruptcy.

The vote on detailed measures to implement 28 billion euros in spending cuts, tax increases and privatisations passed without any of the wild street battles which marred Wednesday’s vote on an initial austerity bill.

The Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers is now likely to approve payment of the latest loan installment this weekend.

After a debate taken up partly by mutual accusations over the previous day’s violence around Syntagma Square in central Athens, deputies voted 155 to 136 to pass the implementation law.

All individual articles went through with opposition support for privatisation and spending cuts, but one deputy from the ruling PASOK party voted against a part of the bill setting up a privatisation agency to handle the sell-off of state assets.

The IMF is expected to approve payment on July 5.