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The 2016 budget was passed with the votes of SYRIZA and the Independent Greeks

06 December 2015 / 15:12:31  GRReporter
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The 2016 budget was passed without surprises late on Saturday. Traditionally, the vote on the budget took the role of a confidence vote for the government. With SYRIZA and the Independent Greeks on board, it kept its unity and received 153 votes from their MPs.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his ministers took turns on the parliamentary rostrum vaunting the positive aspects of their government's policy. In turn, the opposition launched continuous attacks against the parliamentary majority. The discussion only ended an hour after midnight.

The budget was given 153 votes "for", 145 votes "against" while two MPs were not in attendance. A "no" was the choice of independent MP Stathis Panagoulis. The other one, Nikos Nikolopoulos, was absent. ministers Yannis Tsironis and Georgios Katrougalos, as well as SYRIZA MPs Elissavet Skoufa, Anna Vagena and Katerina Inglezi sent in their vote in writing.

Tsipras: The budget prioritises social justice

"With this budget, apart from will, we show that we are able to lead the big effort society is making in these extremely difficult and adverse conditions," said Tsipras.

The prime minister said that this budget is a test for the government, which wants it to epitomise social justice and redistribution of resources amidst budget constraints and austerity. "Behind the numbers one can see an excruciating struggle to alleviate the conditions for the working class and the most vulnerable sections of society, as well as to provide welfare for all," said Tsipras.

The PM pointed out that it had been clear that the policies in recent years would lead to recession and rising unemployment. Which is why his government did not simply have an error or an accident to grapple with, but an overall plan, inspired by neoliberalism. "This is an agenda our government criticized during the negotiations and now continues to dispute," said Tsipras.

He pledged that the purpose of his government is the transformation of the productive and social model of the country, supporting the rights of workers, expansion of the welfare state, the protection of public property, fair taxation, and environmental protection. Yet these objectives imply a radical change of thinking both in Greece and in the EU as a whole, and this is not something that can happen overnight.

New Democracy's interim president Yannis Plakiotakis levelled sharp criticism against Tsipras. He said that the PM "is living on a little pink cloud, but the king is naked." Plakiotakis argued that Tsipras had led the country to the brink.


Tags: 2016 budget voting Alexis Tsipras social justice
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