Violent Clashes Erupt As Greek Lawmakers Back EU Imposed Austerity Measures

Greek lawmakers voted in favour of a deeply contentious bailout package in the early hours of Thursday, clearing the first hurdle towards securing a eurozone rescue and the Greek populace who, barely two weeks, voted overwhelmingly to reject austerity are not impressed.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras managed to push through a series of unpopular reforms demanded by the country’s international creditors, despite scenes of anger over austerity in Athens, where protesters threw firebombs at police.

The PM, however, suffered a major mutiny from his lawmakers — 32 out of 149 voted against the measures, and a further six abstained — and had to rely on the support of pro-European opposition parties.

A final count showed 229 members of parliament out of 300 voted in favour of the measures, which included sweeping changes to Greece’s taxes, pensions and labour rules, with 64 voting against and six abstaining.

But for Greece to secure funds, the agreement must still go before the domestic parliaments of some of the other 19 members of the eurozone, with all eyes in particular on EU powerhouse Germany, which is set to vote on Friday.

Only after that can the tough talks to finalise the long-awaited deal, expected to take much of the summer, begin in ernest.

Eurozone finance ministers were set to hold a conference call on Thursday to discuss the next step in finalising what will be the debt-laden country’s third bailout, worth up to 86 billion euros ($94 billion).