Tax, privatization fund bill passes in parliament by 3 votes; austerity package now complete

Sunday, 22 May 2016 22:50
UPD:22:52
INTIME NEWS/ΛΙΑΚΟΣ ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ

An omnibus bill loaded with indirect tax hikes and legislation creating a “supra privatization fund” was passed by the coalition government majority on Sunday, with 153 deputies in the 300-MP legislature approving the latest austerity package.

One SYRIZA deputy, however, voted against two of the most controversial articles in the 7,200-page bill, namely, the articles referring to the privatization fund and the automatic spending cut mechanism, dubbed the “cutter”.

MP Vassiliki Katrivanou was absent from the first round of the roll call vote, only to enter the chamber and voice a “no” vote on the two articles.

The final tally was 153 in favor and 145 against, as two opposition MPs were absent from the vote.

The “yea” votes came from MPs of the leftist SYRIZA party, the first-past-the-poll party in last September’s election, and deputies of the small right-populist AN.EL party, its coalition partner.

The measures in the bill comprise roughly one-third of a 5.4-billion-euro package of measures necessary to achieve a first review of the Greek program (third bailout) from institutional creditors. Up to 10 billion euros in funding will resume in the coming period if the review is achieved.

The “cutter mechanism” foresees contingency measures of up to 3.6 billion euros if the Greek budget veers off fiscal targets through 2018. 

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