What’s next for Greece after parliament passes second set of reforms

A third bailout package may be in the pipeline, but it has yet to be negotiated

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The Independent Online

Greece is on firmer footing after a second set of reforms passed through parliament last night, clearing the way for further talks on a bailout of up to €86 billion that will pull the country back from the brink of collapse.

A bailout package now looks likely, but it has yet to be negotiated.

Those negotiations will be tough. Greece will be asked to submit to targets to cut budget surpluses dictated from Athens. The government will have to put aside most of the money it makes from taxes to pay down Greece’s debts. This means there will be less money to invest in public spending, which could invite the ire of the Greek people, who have already endured many years of austerity. Already, public sectors workers have gathered to protest.

In parliament too, ministers are unlikely to relax. Brussels will be keeping a close eye on the implementation of reforms through constant monitoring, to make sure Greece keeps up its end of the deal.

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, seems to have recovered his authority in parliament for now. The vote on Wednesday evening  passed not only with a parliamentary majority, as was expected, by with a majority in Tsipras’s governing Syriza party.

Of 299 voters, 230 Greek MPs backed the second set of reforms, 63 voted against and 6 abstained.

Tsipras was once again forced to rely on the support of opposition parties to secure the passage of the reforms. But he mangaged to reduce the size of the rebellion in the Syriza party to 36 MPs who voted ‘no’, signalling a return to authority that bodes well for future negotiations with Brussels.

Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, switched sides this time, to vote ‘yes’. "No leftist accuses me of treachery and no rightist will ever welcome me," Varoufakis said.