(Reuters) — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won backing from lawmakers on Saturday for painful reform proposals aimed at obtaining a new international bailout, but he faced a rebellion in his own party that could threaten his majority in parliament.
The measures, which received an initial nod from European Union and International Monetary Fund officials before a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Saturday, were passed with the support of pro-European opposition parties.
With Greece’s banks shut by the European Central Bank, the measures were seen as a last chance to avert thetotal collapse of the financial system.
In an ominous sign for the stability of the government, however, 10 deputies on the ruling benches either abstained or voted against the measures and another 7, including former finance minister Varoufakis, were not present, leaving Tsipras short of the 151 seats needed for a majority of his own.
Prominent leftwingers in the governing Syriza party signaled before the vote that they could not support the mix of tax hikes and spending cuts proposed by Tsipras, following the rejection of similar austerity measures by voters in Sunday’s referendum.
Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, Deputy Labour Minister Dimitris Stratoulis as well as the speaker of parliament, Zoe Constantopoulou, all abstained withholding their support from the government.
“The government is being totally blackmailed to acquiesce to something which does not reflect what it represents,” Constantopoulou said.
Following the vote in parliament, where many leftists in his own party were stunned by his acceptance of previously spurned austerity measures, Tsipras said he would now focus on securing a deal.
“The parliament today gave the government a strong mandate to complete the negotiations and reach an economically viable and socially fair agreement with its partners,” Tsipras said.
“The priority now is to have a positive outcome to the negotiations. Everything else in its own time.”