Greece’s radical government emerged bloodied but alive from a key vote in parliament, which overwhelmingly approved new creditor-demanded reforms despite a revolt among hardliners in the main ruling party Syriza.
The reforms to the judiciary and banking systems were the final hurdle the financially-battered country was obliged to clear before it can start talks with its creditors on a third bailout worth around 85 billion euro (£59.5bn).
Without the money Greece would face financial ruin and forced exit from the euro.
MPs voted 230-63 in favour of the measures, following a whirlwind debate that ended at 4am local time. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was unable to forestall a second revolt in a week among his own Syriza party MPs, but had no trouble passing the draft legislation with the backing of pro-European opposition parties.
Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili conceded there is a clear rift within Syriza, but would not say whether rebels would be expelled.
“From this point on, party procedures will be followed in order to deal with the problem,” she said after the vote.
The number of disaffected Syriza MPs, who see the reforms as a betrayal of the anti-austerity platform that brought their left-wing party to power in January, shrunk slightly compared to last week’s similar vote – from 38 to 36. But that is still roughly a quarter of the party’s MPs.
Addressing parliament before the vote, Mr Tsipras said the reforms were a necessary price to pay to keep Greece alive after stormy talks with its creditors nearly collapsed earlier this month. “We have chosen a compromise that forces us to implement a programme in which we do not believe, and we will implement it because the alternatives are tough,” he said.
“We are summoned today to legislate under a state of emergency.”