Greek lawmakers pass crucial austerity bill - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Greek lawmakers pass crucial austerity bill

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek lawmakers have approved a crucial austerity bill needed to tap euro110 billion ($140 billion) in bailout loans from the other 15 euro-zone countries and the International Monetary Fund -- money needed to avoid a debt default.

The bill passed with 172 votes in favor and 121 against. Prime Minister George Papandreou expelled three of his deputies who abstained and did not vote in favor, kicking them out of his Socialist party's parliamentary group. The move leaves him with 157 deputies in the 300-memeber parliament, still a comfortable majority.

Greeks have been outraged by the measures, which slash salaries and pensions for civil servants and hike consumer taxes. Thousands of people gathered outside parliament during the vote to protest the measures.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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