German Chancellor Angela Merkel narrowly averted a far bigger rebellion last month on Greece’s bailout extension among her conservatives, many more of whom would have voted ‘Nein’ but for her finance minister’s powers of persuasion, lawmakers said.
Germany’s parliament voted on Feb. 27 to extend Greece’s bailout by four months, but a record number of conservative dissenters were not convinced that Athens would deliver the economic reforms it has promised.
One senior conservative told Reuters that Merkel’s Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), “would have unanimously voted ‘No'” had Wolfgang Schaeuble not solicited support during a personal appearance two days before the vote.
Another leading conservative said Schaeuble’s meeting with Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) was equally important in securing their support at a time when confidence in the Greek government was “kaputt” in the lower house of parliament.
“The vote was hanging by a thread,” the lawmaker said, on condition of anonymity.
Schaeuble is a leading advocate of the austerity measures that Greece’s new left-wing government wants to scrap.
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