Greece PM Tsipras Contains Rebellion to Pass Bailout

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras contained a rebellion in his left-wing Syriza party to win parliamentary approval on Thursday for a second package of reforms required to start talks on a financial rescue deal.  A first set of reforms that focused largely on tax hikes and budget discipline triggered a rebellion in Syriza last week and passed only thanks to votes from pro-EU opposition parties.

The bill that lawmakers voted on early Thursday covered rules for dealing with failed banks and speeding up the justice system – two more conditions set by the euro zone and IMF to open negotiations on an 86 billion euro rescue loan.  The legislation easily passed with the backing of 230 votes in the 300-seat chamber, once again due to opposition support.

But 36 Syriza deputies – or almost a quarter of the party’s 149 lawmakers – voted against the overall bill or abstained, though significantly for Tsipras that was a smaller rebellion than the 39 deputies who defied him in last week’s vote.  “We made tough choices, and I personally made difficult, responsible choices. Today we must all redefine the possibilities ahead of us given the new circumstances,” Tsipras said in an appeal to parliament to back the reforms.