Tuesday, December 8, 2015, Agrahayan 24, 1422 BS, Safar 25, 1437 Hijri

Greek MPs approve austerity state budget for 2016
Published :Tuesday, 8 December, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 14

ATHENS, Dec 7: The Greek parliament approved on early Sunday the 2016 state budget that foresees return to economic growth in the second half of the new year through a new wave of painful austerity and reform policies.
The 2016 budget aims to generate at least 0.5 per cent of GDP primary surplus by 2017 via tax hikes and spending cuts totaling 6 billion euros(about 6.5 billion U.S. dollars). In the latest critical vote for the leftist-led government, which essentially turned into a vote of confidence, the budget was passed with 153 yes votes in the 300-member legislature.
All MPs of the Radical Left SYRIZA party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the junior coalition partners, the Right-wing Independent Greeks, voted in favour of the budget, while 145 deputies of the opposition parties voted against. Two lawmakers were absent.
In a previous vote in the assembly on Nov. 19 on a set of prior actions required by international lenders to release further bailout loans to Athens, the government's majority shrank by two legislators who voted against party line. As more crucial votes are due in coming weeks and months, tension between the government and opposition parties is on the rise. Officials such as Central Bank Governor Yannis Stournaras and analysts have called for consensus so as to step out of the prolonged debt crisis.
According to Bank of Greece's latest interim report on monetary policy released a few hours before the vote on the 2016 state budget, recession will continue in the first half of 2016 and cross party cooperation was instrumental to exit the six-year crisis.
Returning to normality and sustainable growth hinges upon the implementation of the third bailout agreement struck with Greece's creditors this summer, the report warned. The heated debate inside the parliament shortly before the roll call vote on Sunday was not very encouraging, media commentators noted.     ?Xinhua

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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