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Second vote test for Tsipras's reforms

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 02:13

Alexis Tsipras presents to parliament a second set of reforms needed to open talks with Athens' creditors on a multi-billion euro rescue package. As Ciara Lee reports, the Greek prime minister continues to face fierce opposition to his plans.

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Another day, another critical vote for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He's hoping to pass a second set of reforms required by the country's lenders to kick start talks on a rescue package Tsipras has until Wednesday night to get those measures adopted. But he's under pressure. A first set of reforms triggered a rebellion in his party last week and passed only thanks to votes from pro-EU opposition parties. Panos Skourletis, a close Tsipras ally who left the labour ministry to take over the country's energy ministry, says the government is facing a new reality. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) FORMER LABOUR MINISTER, PANOS SKOURLETIS, SAYING: "What we are called upon to do is to implement a difficult deal, a deal that was forced upon us, which will have negative effects on the majority of society." The second bill is less divisive, but will still be a test of Tsipras's weakened majority. It will put into law new EU rules on propping up failed banks, imposing losses on shareholders and creditors, before any taxpayers' money can be tapped in a bank rescue. The bill also includes the adoption of new rules for the country's civil justice system to cut costs. Together with his coalition partners, Tsipras has 162 seats in the 300-seat parliament. But last week's rebellion cut his support to just 123 votes, meaning he is likely to need opposition votes again. And even if the bill is approved, the risks ahead are many, says IHS Global Insight's Jan Randolph. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAN RANDOLPH, DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK AT IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT, SAYING: "The reforms, the structural reforms, there will be resistance outside parliament. And the state itself may be foot dragging, the bureaucracy. Because their heart is not in it and nor is really the government. And that's the problem. You're forcing someone who doesn't really want to do this and it could easily regress and lapse." But some progress has been made. Greece on Monday reopened its banks and repaid around 2 billion euros of arrears owed to the IMF - and started payment of 4.2 billion euros owed to the ECB. It was considered the first attempt at a return to normality for Greece after weeks of political and economic chaos.

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Second vote test for Tsipras's reforms

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 02:13