The Greek parliament passes sweeping austerity measures demanded by lenders to open talks on a euro zone bailout package. Julie Noce reports.
Greek lawmakers have approved harsh austerity measures as a requirement for starting negotiations with euro zone lenders on an economic bailout plan. The package passed with 229 votes in favor and 64 against as dozens in Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' own party voted against it. Before the vote, Tsipras made clear he was against the reforms but said there was no alternative to avoiding financial collapse. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "I will admit that the measures we are tabling are harsh, and I don't agree with them, I don't believe they will help the Greek economy, and I say so openly, but I also say that I must implement them, that is our difference." Questions have been raised about the security of Tsipras' Syriza party with some 38 members voting against the reforms. Amongst them, the Greek energy minister. We support the prime minister, he said after the vote. Even those of us who voted 'No' support the effort to exit the crisis. Outside parliament, petrol bombs are hurled at the heavy police presence as protesters express anger over the reforms. With unemployment standing at over 25 percent, it's unclear how the country will be able to sustain the burden of the measures, which include significant pension adjustments and tax hikes. Euro zone finance ministers are scheduled to discuss the vote during a conference call later Thursday.