By Vittorio Hernandez

Greece's Economic Ruins

Athens, Greece

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a confidence vote on Wednesday after all 155 legislators from his Socialist Party supported the embattled government.

The votes met the 151-vote requirement of the country's 300-seat Parliament.

There were 143 lawmakers who voted against the government and two abstentions.

The result of the confidence vote moves the financially challenged Greek government closer to getting the second tranche of bailout money from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Following the vote, which was an approval of the cabinet changes that Papandreou made, the legislators will be asked to vote again on $40 billion (EUR 28 billion) in cost-cutting measures, tax increases, fiscal reforms and privatization plans. Eurozone finance ministers required the Greek Parliament to pass a law on these reforms for Athens to receive a $17 billion (EUR 12 billion) loan, which Greece would use to pay its debts.

Even if the measures get Parliament's approval, it still faces stiff resistance from Greeks, who have been opposing the cost-cutting measures the government put in place since the country's fiscal problems started.

Papandreou acknowledged that the measures are tough, but Greeks have to accept the reforms to transform the country into a leaner and financially healthier nation since it could no longer take the debt burden.

With the confidence vote, the need for an early election is eliminated and it will serve as an added assurance for holders of Greek debt papers that the country would not default on its loans. It will also avert creating a financial disaster in the eurozone, which could match the one created by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008.


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