Despite the abstention of their junior ruling partner, the Democratic Left, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's New Democracy Party and his Socialist PASOK allies managed to pass the 500-odd-page Bill by a margin of 153 to 128 votes; though seven members from their parties were expelled, after the bill was adopted, for breaking party ranks.
Samaras said that he was “very happy” with the result, especially as Greece was likely to run out of money by November 16.
“Greece made a big decisive and optimistic step today. A step toward recovery,” Samaras said, as cited by the BBC.
But the measures — including sharp cuts to pensions, salaries and social services, as well as tax increases and increases in the retirement age to 67 from 65 – were met with violent protests by Greek citizens, who attacked police with petrol bombs and flares outside the parliament building in Athens.
According to Reuters, a handful of protestors also tried to break through police barricades to enter the assembly, while several parliamentary workers had also briefly stopped the session by walking out when they discovered that their salaries would be cut.
“You can’t rebuild institutions when you’ve cut down the salaries of people who work for them,” said Alexis Papahelas, the managing editor of the Kathimerini daily, as cited by the New York Times. “That’s the big problem the government and the country are facing.”