Syriza divided over new EU bailout

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Alexis Tsipras greece prime minister Syriza

Alexis Tsipras clashed once again with his party today over a vote on economic reforms. The terms had previously been set out by creditors to streamline the country in exchange for an €86 billion bailout.

32 of Syriza’s MPs openly rebelled against the terms, giving him just 123 MPs in support – slightly over the 120 majority to maintain the minority government.

This will mean Tsipras would almost certainly need opposition votes in order to pass the reform package, the latest in series of moves that has seen the Greek Prime Minister abandoning his radical left views in favour of cooperation.

Syriza divided

After tense and lengthy negotiations, Tsipras conceded to European creditors, promising to implement sweeping reductions to pensions, increasing value-added tax (VAT), and privatisation schemes across the country. The increased VAT has faced opposition from the Greek islands, who have enjoyed historically lower rates in order to promote economic development there.

These demands were led by Germany, the largest creditor, and have been seen by many in Greece as the European creditors as forcing more austerity upon a debt-riddled Greece.

But acceptance of the first round of demands by the Greek parliament meant that Greece was able to secure more funds and reopen its banks, which had previously been limiting customers to a €60 a day withdrawal limit. It also allowed the Greek government to pay part of an IMF debt so that the country is no longer in arrears.

In conceding to the creditors demands, Alexis Tsipras has abandoned his staunch (yet popular) defiance of Europe, as well as the anti-austerity platform his party was elected on. This could signal a shift in the perception of the Syriza Party as it approaches the pro-Europe opposition for votes, both for this bailout package and any future dealings with European creditors.