Greek president Antonis Samaras barely has the lead in his coalition government to carry the combination of budget cuts, tax hikes, and labor reforms needed to match the austerity requirements to win Greece another installment of its bailout package.
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The smallest third of the coalition opposes his plan. And tens of thousands of workers plan to storm the assembly for the second day in a row in a nationwide strike that threatens to close schools, banks, and government offices that depend on public transport.
The unions say the austerity requirements will harm the poor and benefit the wealthy. They say it also will deepen the recession that has lasted five years and has wiped out one fifth of Greece’s output and has driven unemployment to 25%.
The vote is the most important since Samaras was elected president. A vote yes will give Greece the money it needs to keep its banks functioning and pay debt service coming due at the end of November.
Samaras has promised this round of measures would comprise the last cuts to pensions and wages. But Greek living standards have taken a huge hit. People are running out of food and some are even searching trash bins to find something to eat.
The Democratic Left party has pledged to vote present rather than no. This will allow the other two parties to carry the vote
with about 154 of the parliament’s 300 seats.
The Greek people are growing more weary, saying the government has taken their jobs, their money, and their lives to satisfy the Europeans.