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German MPs back Greek bailout deal

Angela Merkel.  PHOTO: Wikipedia

Angela Merkel. PHOTO: Wikipedia

GERMAN MPs have voted by a large majority to approve a third bailout deal for Greece.

In total 453 members of parliament voted in favour, 113 rejected the bailout and 18 abstained.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble earlier warned MPs that it would be “irresponsible” to oppose the €86bn ($95bn; £61bn) package.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right conservative bloc has been divided over the deal.

Prior to the vote nearly 60 of her own MPs had indicated they would vote against the rescue package.

In total 47 MPs did not attend the session.
It is thought a significant proportion are conservatives, who stayed away to avoid defying Mrs Merkel and voting no to the deal, reports the BBC’s Jenny Hill in Berlin.

Mrs. Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party and its Bavarian CSU allies hold 311 seats in the 631-seat Bundestag. Mrs Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, supported the deal, as did the opposition Greens.

Last month, 65 CDU/CSU politicians refused to support even starting negotiations for a third bailout.
Doubts

Despite being one the harshest critics of Greece’s left-wing Syriza government, Germany’s finance minister told MPs before the vote that they should give Greece the opportunity of a new start.

Mr Schaeuble told parliament: “There is no guarantee that all of this will work and there can always be doubts.

“But considering the fact that the Greek parliament already approved most of the measures, it would be irresponsible not to seize this chance for a new beginning in Greece.”

MPs have been worried about two unanswered questions – the extent of any debt write-off for Greece and whether the International Monetary Fund will back the bailout.

The IMF is avoiding any commitment until Greece’s progress is assessed in October.
Some German MPs suspect that the deal could lead to part of Greece’s large debt being written off – with EU taxpayers having to foot the bill.

German MPs had to be recalled from their summer break for the emergency vote on the deal, which has already been approved by Greece’s parliament and eurozone finance ministers.

On Tuesday, MPs in Austria, Estonia and Spain backed the bailout.

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