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Greek PM wins confidence vote, pledges transition
Question of the Day
After seeing nearly two years of harsh austerity measures that spurred crippling strikes, violent demonstrations and street attacks against his lawmakers, Papandreou insisted the burden of painful reform could not be carried without help from opposition parties.
“We, the Socialist party deputies, carried the cross of reform … But one group in Parliament is not enough,” he said. “This great task requires sincere and broad support.”
Greece has been surviving since May 2010 on a first €110 billion bailout. But its financial crisis was so severe that a second rescue was needed as the country remained locked out of international bond markets by sky-high interest rates and facing an unsustainable national debt increase.
The new European deal, agreed on Oct. 27 after marathon negotiations, would give Greece an additional €130 billion ($179 billion) in rescue loans and bank support. It would also see banks write off 50 percent of Greek debt, worth some €100 billion ($138 billion). The goal is to reduce Greece’s debts to the point where the country is able to handle its finances without relying on constant bailouts.
In return for bailout money, Greece was forced to embark on a punishing program of tax hikes and cuts in pensions and salaries that sent Papandreou’s popularity plummeting and his majority in parliament whittled down from a comfortable 10 seats to just two.
Associated Press writers Demetris Nellas and Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed to this report.
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