ATHENS – Greece’s Parliament on Nov. 14 voted to revoke a law it passed several weeks ago, withdrawing a payment plan for state debtors on orders of its international lenders.
Greek Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras had to reverse a law he said was essential to helping Greeks buried under austerity measures he imposed on the demand of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).
The law would have extended a plan to give debtors up to 100 installments, including property tax and income tax, but now it will fall on taxpayers to come up with the money instead of being given a break.
Parliament voted 147-112 to reverse itself. Two coalition MPs, PASOK’s Apostolos Kaklamanis and Michalis Kassis, voted present instead of voting against it, which could have seen them ejected.
Separate legislation aimed at tackling the problem of corporate non-performing loans, was also approved by a vote of 165-83, with 13 voting present.
Samaras was eager to show the Troika he would obey its demand so that its envoys would return to check progress on other delayed reforms because he’s pushing for an early exit from the memorandum that came with big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings to go along with 240 billion euros ($306 billion) in two bailouts.
The new bill exempts from installments debts that expired after Oct. 1 which means the four final installments of a unified property tax and the final tranches of income tax dues cannot be included in the scheme.
The Troika is said to have objected to the originally proposed extension of the payment scheme amid fears that it would increase Greece’s fiscal gap for next year by around one billion euros.