Athens - The Greek Parliament approved a second international
bailout deal early Wednesday after thousands of anti-austerity
protesters held peaceful protests against the deal.
Some 213 lawmakers backing the coalition government of
socialists and conservatives voted in favor of the new agreement, while
79 voted against.
The rescue package, which combined with a first bailout
will reach €172.6bn, includes sweeping
government spending cuts.
The coalition government was formed in November with
the task of securing the new bailout, as well as a deal with private
lenders on a €100bn debt writedown.
Athens is under tight supervision from its
international creditors to follow through with its austerity reforms as a
condition to receive the bailout money.
Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said Prime
Minister Lucas Papademos was expected by the end of next week to
schedule national elections, after having fulfilled his mission.
In the capital Athens and the northern port city of
Thessaloniki, several thousand Communist party supporters demonstrated
against the austerity measures, which include layoffs and the
privatization of state companies.
Meanwhile, seamen said they would be calling off
further strikes after the second day of their first 48-hour stoppage
ends Wednesday morning. The strike had halted all ferry and ship
services to and from the Greek islands since Monday.
The seamen's union said it had decided to end the
strike after the government offered written guarantees to demands on
pension cuts and salaries.Author: Christine Pirovolakis