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Greek bailout bill submitted to parliament for approval
[ATHENS] Greece's government submitted a bill outlining a three-year bailout programme to parliament on Wednesday, pushing for quick approval that would pave the way for rapid disbursement of aid.
Athens a day earlier agreed with international lenders on the terms of about 85 billion euros in fresh aid to stay financially afloat and remain in the eurozone. It is the third bailout for the indebted nation since 2010.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has asked parliament to expedite approval of the agreement so committees can discuss it before a vote expected on Thursday evening.
That, in turn, would allow eurozone ministers meeting on Friday to sign off on the deal and pave the way for aid to be disbursed before a 3.2 billion euro debt repayment falls due on Aug. 20.
But in a sign of dissent within Mr Tsipras's ruling left-wing Syriza, parliamentary speaker and vocal anti-bailout campaigner Zoe Constantopoulou called a meeting of party representatives for Wednesday night, effectively delaying part of the approval process in committees.
The bill is still anticipated to go to a plenary session and vote on Thursday evening, parliamentary officials said, meaning the original timeline will not derailed.
"The government wants it to be approved before Friday's Eurogroup meeting," a parliamentary official told Reuters, referring to the meeting of eurozone finance ministers. "That is the effort."
The legislation covers tax and pension reform, public administration reform, the relaunch of a privatisation scheme which stalled earlier in the year and the establishment of a wealth fund for privatisation projects which will be supervised by European institutions.
According to the 29-page memorandum of understanding Greece agreed with creditors, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, Greek must move to rapidly privatise its ports, regional airports and its power grid operator.
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