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Greek PM focused on bailout deal

Greek PM focused on bailout deal
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Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is focused on completing a bailout deal, agreed with the Eurozone, despite setbacks in a crucial vote to push through tough reforms, his spokesman said on Thursday.

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Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is focused on completing a bailout deal, agreed with the Eurozone, despite setbacks in a crucial vote to push through tough reforms, his spokesman said on Thursday.


The Greek parliament earlier on Thursday approved an omnibus draft bill, ratifying the debt deal the government reached with creditors on Monday and the first round of reforms requested as prerequisites for the immediate release of international aid to avert imminent default and Grexit -- Greece exit from the European Union (EU).

The bailout deal provides for Greece to receive up to 86 billion Euros (about $89 billion), BBC reported.

Spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis was talking to media after Tsipras won the vote by 229 votes to 64, with the support of some opposition MPs.

Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was another vocal opponent of the measures.

Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and Deputy Labour Minister Dimitris Stratoulis also voted against the package, prompting speculation they could lose their jobs in a reshuffle.

In his address to parliament Tsipras said: "I acknowledge the fiscal measures are harsh, that they won't benefit the Greek economy, but I'm forced to accept them."

"The Greek people can understand the difference between those who fight in an unfair battle and those who just hand in their weapons," the prime minister added.

Sakellaridis said the vote was the first important step towards a deal and hinted that the government would try to remain in office despite losing its majority.

"The basic priority of the prime minister and the government is the immediate and successful completion of the agreement," he said.

Eurozone finance ministers are due to discuss the vote in a conference call later in the day on how to keep Greece's banks from collapsing.

Meanwhile, opponents of the bailout measures took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday night in mainly peaceful protests ahead of the vote. One group, however, threw petrol bombs at police officers who responded with tear gas.

Unions and trade associations representing civil servants, municipal workers and pharmacy owners also went on strike.
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