Greek government wins confidence vote, bigger battles loom
By George Georgiopoulos and Deepa Babington
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's new conservative-led government won parliamentary approval on Monday, but faced the much tougher task of convincing European partners and the IMF to give it more time to meet the terms of its bailout.
There had been little doubt the government would sail through the confidence vote after a heated three-day debate in which it pledged to win back the trust of foreign lenders.
All 179 ruling coalition deputies backed the motion in the 300-seat parliament.
After demanding a long list of changes to Greece's latest rescue package when it took power last month, the three-party coalition has struck a more conciliatory tone in recent days as it faces the prospect of running out of cash without more aid.
It has pledged to push through privatizations and long-discussed structural reforms, saying those were the first steps to regaining credibility with lenders.
"We don't want to change the targets of the bailout but that which is causing recession and hampering us from attaining those goals," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a speech before the confidence vote.
"We have been saying the same thing repeatedly all along - the only way to avoid bankruptcy and an exit from the euro is through growth and investments."
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras says he has already been warned by visiting officials from the lenders that he will face a difficult time at a Monday meeting of the Eurogroup finance ministers. He has tried to lower Greek expectations of a swift overhaul of the harsh austerity terms included in the bailout. Continued...