Greek parliament passes latest austerity budget


The Greek parliament passed another austerity budget early Saturday, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s new government implemented cutbacks and reforms agreed with international lenders.

The 2016 budget passed 154-140 after several days of debate, enacting new taxes, a higher retirement age and tougher penalties for tax evaders.

Tsipras said late Friday that the budget contained “difficult measures.”

State television showed thousands of people demonstrating outside parliament in central Athens against the latest austerity measures.

Last week, the new government survived a confidence vote with the support of all 155 members of Tsipras’ own left-wing SYRIZA party and junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL).

SYRIZA was re-elected last month in snap elections, called by Tsipras to renew his mandate after signing an 86-billion-euro (97-billion-dollar) fiscal rescue deal that included cost-cutting measures he had previously vowed to roll back.

The election saw Greece’s lowest voter turnout in more than 50 years.

The bailout is Greece’s third since 2010 with the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and European Commission.

The international creditors will review Greek progress next month before authorizing the next tranche of money to keep the central government in Athens afloat.

Evangelos Meimarakis, leader of the main opposition conservative New Democracy, accused Tsipras of implementing tax increases that would further shrink the Greek economy, which has been in recession for several years.