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Greek Parliament Approves Bailout after All-Night Debate
Greece's parliament on Friday approved the country's third international bailout after an all-night debate, hours ahead of a critical meeting by European finance ministers.
A majority of 222 lawmakers approved the 400-page document over 64 who voted against and 11 abstentions.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had earlier urged the chamber to approve the deal "to assure the country's ability to survive and keep on fighting."
Over 40 lawmakers from Tsipras' radical leftist Syriza party including ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and other senior cadres refused to support the three-year deal, a factor which the PM had previously warned would force him to call early elections.
Greece's parliament had to approve the deal before the Eurogroup of finance ministers meets later Friday in Brussels to decide whether to rubber stamp the 85-billion-euro [$94-billion] rescue plan.
Tsipras said Friday that failure to ratify the deal would enable Germany to push forward its proposal for a bridging loan, which he described as "a return to a crisis without end".
Facing down party critics who reject the austerity-heavy agreement, the 41-year-old PM declared: "I do not regret... choosing a compromise over the heroic dance of Zalongo," referring to a notorious 19th-century mass suicide in northern Greece when a group of women and children jumped to their deaths rather than submit to the cruel Ottoman governor Ali Pasha.
Athens needed to unlock bailout funds before a 3.4-billion-euro repayment to the European Central Bank falls due on August 20.
The vote was originally slated for late Thursday, but was held up by procedural wrangling from hardline parliament chief Zoe Constantopoulou, who termed the bailout unconstitutional.
"Every corner and beauty of Greece is being sold... the government is giving the keys to the troika along with sovereignty and national assets," she said, referring to the country's creditors -- the EU, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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