Greek Parl't To Start Debate On Austerity Laws

Published February 12, 2012 2:27PM (EST)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek lawmakers are poised to begin debate on legislation introducing the severe austerity measures necessary for the country to secure a euro130 billion bailout and stave off bankruptcy.

The legislation will also approve a bond-swapping deal with private creditors that will allow Greece to shave off at least euro100 billion of its euro360 billion debt.

The debate was due to start early afternoon and continue until midnight (2200 GMT; 5 p.m. EST). Unions have called for a large protest outside Parliament starting at 5 p.m.

The two parties backing the coalition government have 236 deputies in the 300-member parliament. But at least 13 conservative and seven socialist lawmakers have declared they will vote against, defying their leaders' threats of sanctions. Early Sunday, a conservative lawmaker resigned, joining three socialists who did the same earlier this week. All have been replaced.

By Salon Staff

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