Greek lawmakers passed measures early on Thursday to back a new eurozone bailout programme with heavy austerity measures in order to unlock new aid of 86 billion euros.
The approved legislation includes the restructuring of value added tax, broadening the tax base, and radical reformation within the pension system, increase in retirement age and radical reduction of government spending.
Prior to the vote, the Greek parliament created an uproar in Athens with Greek police clashing with protesters. Riot police entered the scene where anti-austerity protests were growing. They fired tear gas responding to protesters throwing petrol bombs in Syntagma Square, located right across the Greek parliament.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vocalised his disbelief in the new legislation, however urged lawmakers to back the vote.
He added that, the proposals were “irrational” but nonetheless a safeguard towards the collapse of the banking system and tragedy for Greece.
Tsipras, in a sentimental speech prior to the vote in the parliament said "The Greek people are fully conscious and can understand the difference between those who fight in an unfair battle and those who just hand in their weapons."
The measures passed with 229 votes in favour in the 300-member Greek parliament despite opposition from various Greek politicians including from the left faction of the Syriza party, 38 members of which abstained or voted against the legislation.
Parliamentary speaker Zoe Constantopoulou of Syriza party walked out prior to the vote, and then returned to parliament to make a voracious speech criticising what she commented as a "very black day for democracy in Europe."
Former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis who left his post on July 6, voted against the new bailout programme and sketched his thoughts on a scornful blog before the vote.
Greek citizens overwhelmingly voted ‘’no’’ on July 5 to reject bailout propositions from its international lenders, showing defiance that may split Europe.
However, with today’s vote Greece has accepted harsher conditions than the ones included in the proposals rejected by the Greeks less than two weeks ago.