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Tsipras ‘doesn’t regret’ leading Greece into third multi-billion euro bailout

The country’s parliament has approved the deal after all-night talks.

Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras
Image: Andrew Medichini/AP/Press Association Images

Updated 1.35pm

GREECE’S PARLIAMENT HAS approved the country’s third international bailout after an all-night debate, hours ahead of a critical meeting by European finance ministers.

A majority of 222 lawmakers approved the 400-page document over 64 who voted against and 11 abstentions.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had earlier urged the chamber to approve the deal “to assure the country’s ability to survive and keep on fighting”.

More than 40 lawmakers from Tsipras’ radical leftist Syriza party including ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and other senior cadres refused to support the three-year deal, a factor which the PM had previously warned would force him to call early elections.

Greece’s parliament had to approve the deal before Eurozone finance ministers meets later Friday in Brussels to decide whether to rubber stamp the €85 billion euro rescue plan.

Tsipras said this morning that failure to ratify the deal would enable Germany to push forward its proposal for a bridging loan, which he described as “a return to a crisis without end”.

Facing down party critics who reject the austerity-heavy agreement, the 41-year-old PM declared:

I do not regret… choosing a compromise over the heroic dance of Zalongo.

This refers to a notorious 19th-century mass suicide in northern Greece when a group of women and children jumped to their deaths rather than submit to the cruel Ottoman governor Ali Pasha.

The EU said it is “entirely feasible” that eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels later  will endorse the deal.

“We are encouraged by the strong vote this morning in the Greek parliament,” European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt told a press conference.

Greece Bailout The Greek parliament. Source: AP

The Commission is “confident that on this basis, and on the basis of the ambitious agreement that was reached between the (creditor) institutions and the Greek government, a positive outcome is entirely feasible today,” Breidthardt said.

Athens needed to unlock bailout funds before a €3.4-billion repayment to the European Central Bank falls due on August 20.

The vote was originally slated for late yesterday, but was held up by procedural wrangling from hardline parliament chief Zoe Constantopoulou, who termed the bailout unconstitutional. Referring to the country’s creditors, she said:

Every corner and beauty of Greece is being sold… the government is giving the keys to the troika along with sovereignty and national assets.

Better-than-expected growth figures gave Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose reform plans have sparked a rebellion by Syriza hardliners, a boost going into the vote and eurozone meeting.

Thursday’s official estimates showed the economy expanding 0.8 percent in the second quarter of 2015 — despite the cash-strapped government imposing capital controls to prevent a bank run.

© – AFP 2015Originally published 8.30am.

Read: Greece has reached a deal with its lenders. Here’s what it means >

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