Greece debt crisis live: Lawmakers approve second crucial bailout bill - Greek lawmakers today approved legislation on a second batch of reforms which will help in unlocking a huge international bailout required by the cash-strapped nation.
The lawmakers passed the bill by a resounding 230 votes out of the 298 members of parliament, who were present in the House. The voting was held after a long debate that brought to fore the divisions in the governing left-leaning Syriza party.
The legislation calls for changes to the civil justice system, a bank deposit protection scheme and measures to strengthen the Greece's banks. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will definitely welcome the development as he is holding serious talks with the international lenders to receive a new bailout worth up to 86 billion euros ($93 billion) over three years.
Tsipras? willingness to approve the new changes has sparked a major rebellion in his leftist Syriza party for the second time in a week.
Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili admitted the government was facing a "political problem" and said "planned procedures" would be implemented to address it.
"The divide in the parliamentary majority is clear," she told reporters after the vote.
It is notable that Tsipras enjoys good popularity among the Greeks but it is expected that the increasing divisions within Syriza may force him to call early elections. Syriza was voted into power at the beginning of the year.
The new reform package sparked five hours of heated debate on Wednesday night, with the lawmakers engaging in heated debate on several issues. The parliament speaker compared the bailout deal to "a coup".
For his part, Tsipras insisted the deal was the result of a "difficult compromise" with Greece's paymasters - the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
"The painful path does not stop here, unfortunately," he said. "We have been forced to make a difficult compromise under urgent conditions. We were at the limits of our economy and our banking system, and at the limits of Europe - where conservative forces, obsessed with austerity, dominate," he added.