Greek government confident despite backlash over debt deal
By George Georgiopoulos and Michele Kambas
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's leftwing government expressed confidence on Tuesday that parliament would approve a debt deal with lenders, despite an angry reaction from some of its own lawmakers who accused it of caving in to pressure for more austerity.
Concessions offered by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, including hikes to tax and pension contributions, garnered a cautious welcome from euro zone leaders but triggered a furious reaction from some leftists in the ruling Syriza party.
One lawmaker said the deal was tantamount to a "tombstone" for Greece, after repeated rounds of austerity during five years of crisis.
Deputy parliament speaker and Syriza lawmaker Alexis Mitropoulos said the concessions were "not in line with the principles of the left" and would cause "social carnage".
"I believe that this programme as we see it ... is difficult to pass by us," he told Greek Mega TV.
However State Minister Nikos Pappas, one of Tsipras' closest aides, said he was confident that the deal would get through.
"I assure you that the deal will be such that it will win the backing of the government majority and of the Greek people," Pappas told Mega TV."
Euro zone leaders said the new budget proposals from Athens on Monday were a basis for further negotiations to unlock billions of euros in frozen aid and avert a default next week that could lead to a Greek exit from the single currency area. Continued...