Stratoulis' job was given to Pavlos Chaikalis, a former comic actor, from the right-wing partner of Syriza, the Independent Greeks. Deputy Finance Minister Nadia Valvani resigned before the vote. New ministers are expected to be sworn in this Saturday. The main economic ministries remain as they were, with Euclid Tsakalotos remaining as finance minister and George Stathakis staying as economy minister. Yanis Varoufakis the former finance minister also voted against the bailout bill but he had already resigned his position before the last negotiations.
Tsipras has said there will be no elections immediately and not before a bailout deal is agreed upon. Nikos Voutsis, the Interior Minister, said that there could be elections in September or October. The reform bill passed with 229 votes in the 300-seat chamber in the early hours of Thursday morning. The bill includes pension cuts, VAT hikes, reform of collective bargaining, and stringent limits on public spending erasing all of Syriza's "red lines". The bill represented the negation of everything that Syriza had campaigned and fought for. The IMF has criticized the bailout as creating a situation where Greek debt levels will be unsustainable. The IMF claims that severe debt restructuring will be required to make the bailout workable.
The creditors insist the austerity measures in the original agreement be agreed to and implemented.
Tsipras spoke by telephone with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel as well as French President Francois Hollande on Sunday evening. All agreed on the need for a quick agreement.Leftist members of Syriza were incensed when Varoufakis appointed Greek-American economist Elena Panaritis as Greece's representative for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Panaritis had earlier represented the pro-bailout Pasok party as an honorary MP.
Some 43 Syriza members including deputy prime minister Yannis Dragasakis signed a petition opposing the appointment. In spite of the cash crunch Greece faces , the Economy Minister George Stathakis said that Greece had internal resources that would allow it to make a 305 million euro payment to the IMF on June 5. Nevertheless, it is becoming more and more difficult for Greece to meet debt payments without more cash making a quick agreement a necessity. At the same time many in Syriza want the party to adopt a Plan B that would develop strategies for the way forward, or perhaps "outward", should the government fail to reach a deal acceptable to the party.
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Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.
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