ATHENS The Greek parliament passed a sweeping package of austerity measures demanded by European partners as the price for opening talks on a multi-billion euro bailout package needed to keep the near-bankrupt country in the euro zone.
The vote followed a stormy debate in which dozens of lawmakers on the left of the ruling Syriza party rebelled against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and opposed the package, which passed with the support of opposition parties.
The package passed with 229 votes in favor in the 300-seat chamber but 38 Syriza lawmakers abstained or voted against the government, including former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and the current Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, Deputy Labour Minister Dimitris Stratoulis and speaker of parliament Zoe Constantopoulou.
The result opens the way for talks on a third bailout to begin with European partners, but leaves the future of the leftist Tsipras government unclear following the split in his party ranks.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; writing by James Mackenzie)