The vote clears one of three hurdles the Greek government must overcome to qualify for a second bailout worth €130 billion from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, collectively known as the troika.
The reform program includes job and salary cuts for government workers, pension reforms and other measures to reduce government spending.
Greece needs the money to avoid a potential default on a €14.5 billion bond redemption in March.
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ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s parliament approved a deeply unpopular austerity bill Monday to secure a second EU/IMF bailout and avoid national bankruptcy, as buildings burned across central Athens and violence spread around the country.
Cinemas, cafes, shops and banks were set ablaze in central Athens and black-masked protesters fought riot police outside parliament before lawmakers voted on the package that demands deep pay, pension and job cuts – the price of a 130 billion euro bailout needed to keep the country afloat.
State television reported the violence spread to the tourist islands of Corfu and Crete, the northern city of Thessaloniki and towns in central Greece. Police said 150 shops were looted in the capital and 34 buildings set ablaze.
Altogether 199 of the 300 lawmakers backed the bill, but 43 deputies from the two parties in the government of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, the socialists and conservatives, rebelled by voting against. They were immediately expelled by their parties.
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The Greek parliament approved a deeply unpopular austerity bill to secure a second $130bn (£110bn) bailout and avoid a messy default after a day of street battles between police and protesters left Athens in flames.