Greek parliament trying to undermine austerity budget
This was predictable since no politician in their right mind would vote so much pain on his constituents.
The Greek prime minister has warned lawmakers against undermining reforms agreed with international lenders in an attempt to boost their popularity as the country heads for elections in early May.
Lucas Papademos, the former central banker serving as interim premier, has cracked down after deputies proposed scores of amendments to key spending legislation due to be rushed through parliament in the next 10 days.
Lawmakers from the governing coalition of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) and the conservative New Democracy party have overwhelmingly backed a tough fiscal and structural reform package to ensure that Greece can secure a second €174bn bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
But with both parties performing poorly in opinion polls, deputies have tried to exploit a loophole that allows amendments to be adopted and voted through without first being approved by the prime minister and cabinet.
Politicians' efforts to circumvent budget strictures reflect their increasing desperation to appease Greek voters facing another four years of austerity, including further wage and pension cuts, higher property taxes and more costly healthcare.
Minor tweaks to some legislation will probably be ok, but any major changes jeopardizes the EU bailout plan and the future of the Greek economy.
As for the election, the center-right New Democracy party maintains a significant lead over the socialists, but it is iffy whether or not the coalition partners can garner more than 50% of the vote. Fringe parties on the right and left have made some gains in the polls, and the coalition must reach that 50% total to continue in power.