Greece's Tsipras Wins Confidence Vote In Parliament
February 11, 2015
Greece's new radical left-led government has won a confidence vote in parliament, ahead of talks in Brussels with bailout creditors.
Lawmakers voted 162-137 for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's government, elected on January 25 on a platform pledging to radically overhaul austerity in the financially struggling country.
Tsipras told lawmakers before the vote that there is 'no way back' in Greece's push to renegotiate its bailout commitments.
The vote came ahead of a meeting in Brussels of eurozone finance ministers to discuss Athens's proposalsto alter the terms of its massive international bailout.
EU officials have so far rejected Tsipras' push to renegotiate the terms of the 240 billion euro ($276 billion) bailout, which Athens says are too severe.
The Greek government also rejects the so-called 'troika' of lenders -- the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank -- overseeing implementation of the bailout.
However, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has insisisted Greece must observe the bailout conditions. Germany is the main financialcontributor to the deal.
Hours before the vote, the European Commission said President Jean-Claude Juncker and Tsipras spoke on the phone in a 'positive spirit of cooperation,' seeking to curtail rising concern in Western capitals at the risk of a Greece leaving the eurozone that could trigger wider financial instability.
According to sources, at the eurozone meeting on February 11, Greece will say it is ready to cooperate on 70 percent of its bailout obligations but wants to overhaul the remaining 30 percent -- which it would replace with the 10-step plan.
The plan consists of several measures including lower budget surplus targets and cutting debt through a swap plan to replace its obligations under the current deal.
Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is expected in Moscow on February 11 at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
The antiausterity government in Athens has been open about wanting to forge closer links with Russia.
Defense Minister Panos Kammenos has said Greece could turn to the United States, Russia, or China if it fails to reach a new debt agreement with the eurozone.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AP
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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