Greek deputy finance minister resigns before crucial bailout vote

One of Greece's deputy finance ministers has resigned from Alexis Tsipras' ruling Syriza party, just hours before a crucial vote on reforms in return for a bailout deal is due in the Greek parliament.

Nadia Valavani, who is in charge of taxation and was one of the country's two deputy finance ministers, said in a letter addressed to the Greek prime minister and made public by the Finance Ministry, that she could no longer be a member of his cabinet.

"It is impossible to continue being a member of the government," Valavani wrote, arguing that the bailout terms did not offer a "viable solution", and that Greece faces an "overwhelming" capitulation at the hands of its creditors.

Greek MPs are currently debating the tough economic measures, including tax rises and ambitious pension reforms, that the Greek parliament must approve by this evening in order to secure an €86bn eurozone bailout deal.

Speaking last night on Greek television, Tsipras called the proposals "irrational" but said they needed to be implemented to "avoid disaster for the country" - namely, the collapse of the Greek banks.

The number of Syriza MPs who oppose the terms of the bailout is reported to be at least 50. If the number of rebels crosses over 41, the measures may not pass.

The Greek prime minister is currently relying on the support of pro-European opposition parties to pass the vote. Tsipras has denied that he will resign if it fails.

The vote follows a leaked report by the IMF which warns that Greece may need a 30-year moratorium on debt repayments, something Angela Merkel, the German chancellor opposes.

"The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date," the report reads.

The report also warns that Greek public debt could reach 200% of GDP over the next two years.

The publication of the report has raised new uncertainties as to whether the IMF will agree to contribute to a new bailout fund, and what effect it will have on how Greek politicians vote.

The contents of the report could also affect how German politicians vote on Friday on the terms of the bailout, with some analysts querying whether the Bundestag will back the proposed bailout without the support of the IMF.

Opposition to the bailout among some German politicians is growing, with the German tabloid Bild quoting a member of the CDU/CSU saying they expected some 50 votes against the deal.