Greek Parliament Passes Bailout Legislation

The margin of victory, if you can call it that, was 229 out of 300. The approval of draconian austerity measures took place in the face of demonstrations in Athens that turned into a riot as the evening wore on.

That sort of reaction was to be expected in the face of the government’s stunning reversal in such a short period of time. What was surprising is the degree to which Tsipras was able to tamp down defections in his own party. He did not lose the support of his own coalition. Failure to maintain that would almost certainly have led to new elections. It appears that only the members of the left faction, which have been long-standing internal dissenters, rebelled. From the Wall Street Journal:

Greece’s Parliament passed austerity measures needed to secure a fresh bailout, but a rebellion within the ruling Syriza party is testing whether Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras can hold his government together as he seeks to complete the deal.

The measures, which include spending cuts and tax increases, were approved early Thursday by 229 lawmakers in the country’s 300-seat Parliament, many of them opposition lawmakers. Among a total of 149 lawmakers in Mr. Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza party, 32 voted against the deal, six abstained and one was absent from the vote.

And you can see members of Syriza, whose name translates as “Radical Left Coalition,” taking up neoliberal memes. This is a reflection of the success in organizing the economic and political order along neoliberal lines over the past 35 years:

Fresh cracks in the government appeared on Wednesday before the vote, with the resignation of deputy finance minister Nantia Valavani over the bailout, though she last week backed Mr. Tsipras’s decision to seek the new rescue agreement….

Nobody knows how long the 40-year-old prime minister can maintain the backing of his own Syriza party, and its right-wing coalition partner Independent Greeks. Completing the bailout agreement is likely to take several weeks. Selling the tough austerity policies attached to it has been Mr. Tsipras’s biggest political test at home since he swept to victory in an election in January on an antiausterity ticket.

The rebellion threatens to leave Mr. Tsipras’s coalition short of a majority in the Parliament…

“There is no other alternative. There is no time for another path to be taken,” said Evangelos Apostolou, deputy agriculture minister, before the vote.

Since Syriza has been demanding that MPs who do not support the government’s position leave their ministerial posts, it is not clear whether Valavani resigned or was purged. Syriza leaders have even been insisting that MPs must resign their seats if they break with the party, even though that demand appears to be not sanctioned by law.

This is a sad and desperate day for Greece, one of many in a destructive process.

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