Greece: Tsipras Faces Dissent on Bailout Deal

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - With members of his own party openly denouncing a preliminary rescue deal struck with Greece's European creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must fight to cling to his government's majority after he was forced to shred election promises and introduce punishing austerity measures in exchange for the bailout.

    Tsipras, who flew home Monday, July 13, 2015, from grueling night-long negotiations with European leaders, will chair an executive meeting of his Syriza party early Tuesday before lawmakers begin a two-day debate on the deal — set to heap more tax hikes and spending cuts on a country already suffering through six years of recession.

    The deal ensures that Greece avoids an imminent financial catastrophe and an exit from the Eurozone. But Panos Kammenos, leader of the junior partner in Tsipras' coalition government, called the bailout plan a German-led "coup."

    "This deal introduced many new issues [...] we cannot agree with it," Kammenos said after meeting with Tsipras.

    Other Greeks rallied Monday night outside Parliament in Athens, urging lawmakers to reject the new demands.

    Around 30 out of Syriza's 149 lawmakers are likely to vote against the government. Many held private meetings late Monday.

    Tsipras had to consent to a raft of austerity measures, including sales tax hikes and pension and labor reforms — measures he had campaigned vociferously against over the last five years of Greece's financial crisis.

    Since his election in January, the youthful Tsipras has faced intense pressure to backpedal on many of his promises to Greece's exhausted electorate. Finally, faced Sunday by the leaders of the 18 other nations that share the euro and the knowledge that Greek banks were just days away from running out of money, the moment came when he could not resist any more.

    A series of supposed red lines vanished, including objections to tight international oversight of Greece's economy, continued involvement by the International Monetary Fund in Greece's bailout program and cuts to pensions.