Greece crisis MPs pass crucial bailout reforms

The passage of the measures means that negotiations on an €86bn European Union bailout can begin.

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The Greek prime minister secured the votes after a debate into the small hours play

The Greek prime minister secured the votes after a debate into the small hours

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Greece has taken a crucial step towards a bailout after its parliament passed a second set of reforms.

The passage of the measures means that negotiations on an €86bn European Union bailout can begin.

The reforms include changes to Greek banking and an overhaul of the judiciary system.

Thousands demonstrated outside of parliament as the bill was debated, with protests briefly turning violent as petrol bombs were thrown at police.

There had been fears of a rebellion by MPs but Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was easily able to muster the support required. In total, the measures received 230 votes in favour and 63 against with five abstentions.

The debate ended at 04:00 local time (01:00 GMT).

Among those who voted against were 31 members of his own Syriza party. However, this represents a smaller rebellion than in last week's initial vote.

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was one of those rebels in the first vote who returned to vote with the government this time.

Mr Varoufakis wrote (in Greek) that he felt it was important to preserve the unity of the government, even if he believed the programme was "designed to fail" by Greece's creditors.

Speaking before the vote, Mr Tsipras stressed that he was not happy with the measures that creditors had imposed.

"We chose a difficult compromise to avert the most extreme plans by the most extreme circles in Europe," he told MPs.

Representatives of the European institutions that would provide the bailout funds will begin negotiations in Athens on Friday.

Credit: BBC

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