Tags: EU | Greece | Financial | Crisis

Greek PM Survives Confidence Vote in Parliament

ATHENS, Greece — Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a confidence vote in parliament early Wednesday, winning a gamble on his government's survival and the danger of a devastating debt default.

Papandreou won more than the absolute majority of 151 votes he needed in the 300-member legislature to face down an internal party revolt and help him pass deeply disliked austerity measures that have provoked strikes, protests and a slump in his popularity.

The vote was being conducted by roll call after a heated debate that saw sections of the opposition briefly walk out

A loss would have likely led to early elections and thrown into question whether Greece could pass the new austerity bill by the end of June as demanded by the country's international creditors. Unless the new measures pass, Greece will not receive the next batch of funds from its bailout loans, and will face a disastrous default.

Greece is being kept financially afloat by euro110 billion ($157 billion) EU-IMF bailout fund.

A default by Greece could spark a financial maelstrom around the world, dragging down Greek and European banks as well as stoking renewed fears over the finances of other eurozone countries, such as Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

Expectations that Papandreou would win lifted world markets. His Socialist party holds a five-seat majority in the 300-member legislature.

Papandreou reshuffled his Cabinet last week and replaced his finance minister to ease growing dissent within the governing party.

On Tuesday the new finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, promised that parliament will pass the unpopular austerity package by the end of June in order to comply with European Union demands to receive the next payment in its bailout loan.

Venizelos said Parliament is set to vote on euro28 billion ($40.2 billion) worth of budget cuts and other savings next week.

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ATHENS, Greece Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a confidence vote in parliament early Wednesday, winning a gamble on his government's survival and the danger of a devastating debt default.Papandreou won more than the absolute majority of 151 votes he needed...
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