Greek Parliament Backs Bailout But Tsipras Faces Biggest Rebellion Yet

Greece approves Tsipras bailout
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) and Economy Minister George Stathakis attend a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece, August 14.. Tsipras urged lawmakers to approve an 85-billion-euro bailout agreement with creditors on Friday, calling it a "necessary choice" for the nation. Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Greece's parliament has voted to accept draft terms for a third bailout worth 85 billion euros ($94.6 billion) after marathon all-night talks.

However, embattled Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is now facing the prospect of a split in his governing Syriza party and the prospect of a confidence vote, which could see him forced to resign and throw the bailout deal back into jeopardy.

The BBC reported that there were 222 votes in favour of the deal, including opposition party members, 64 against and 11 abstentions. However, this included 31 votes against from Syriza members and 11 abstentions, which constitutes the biggest rebellion against Tsipras by his government so far. According to the Greek Reporter, those voting 'No' within Syriza included former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and the President of the Greek Parliament, Zoe Konstantopoulou.

A Greek government official said that Tsipras will call a vote of confidence sometime after August 20, when Athens is due to make a 3.2 billion euros ($3.6 billion) repayment to the European Central Bank (ECB). If Tsipras were to lose the confidence vote, a snap election would most likely be called and the possibility of a new Greek prime minister could bring further challenges to the implementation of the bailout reforms. According to one calculation reported in The Guardian, just 118 government MPs voted in favour of the dealwith other votes in favour coming from opposition partieswhich is below the 120 votes needed to maintain Tsipras' majority.

Raoul Ruparel, Co-Director of European policy think-tank Open Europe, says that the spectre of fresh elections is now looming over Greece. "It'll be interesting to see if he does have a confidence vote whether he can survive, but the size of the rebellion means we are going to be moving to elections sooner rather than later," says Ruparel. "In the best case, maybe he [Tsipras] can delay it until October or November, but it could end up being even sooner than that."

He adds that the uncertainty surrounding fresh elections could jeopardize the implementation of the bailout, adding to the ire of Athens's eurozone creditors. "When you have elections in Greece, it's clear that nothing else happens. Everything gets put on holdthere'll be no implementation of the bailout, people stop paying taxes, the economy will grind to a halt due to fear of what will happen after the elections," he says.

Syriza is due to hold an emergency party congress in September which will likely determine the future of the party. During the parliamentary talks on the bailout, Lafazanis, who leads the far-Left group within Syriza, the Left Platform, called for the creation of a new anti-bailout movement. According to the Greek Reporter, Lafazanis issued a statement backed by another 13 dissenters in Syriza, in which they said the signing of the new bailout "equals destruction of the Greek people and democracy." The statement added that the deal went against the public will expressed in the 5 July referendum, when Greeks voted overwhelmingly to reject the conditions offered by its eurozone creditors for a fresh bailout. Ruparel says he expects the far-Left faction within Syriza to split and form a new party opposed to the bailout, which campaigns for an exit from the eurozone.

The third bailout is not yet confirmed, as eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Friday afternoon to decide whether to approve the draft agreement. The deal also needs approval from several other European parliaments, notably Germany, which has been Greece's toughest opponent in the negotiations. The German Finance Ministry circulated a paper among its eurozone partners earlier this week, outlining a number of objections to the current deal including concerns about delays in Athens implementing crucial reforms and the role of the International Monetary Fund in contributing to the deal. Tspiras criticised the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schuble during the talks in the Greek parliament, saying that "there will be an effort from the side of Mr. Schuble to take back what has been agreed" in the Brussels meeting, and that such a reversal "would not be a defeat for [Greek Finance Minister Euclid] Tsakalotos, or for Greece, but for Europe."

Greek Parliament Backs Bailout But Tsipras Faces Biggest Rebellion Yet | World