- Title: GERMANY: Lower house approves Greek bailout deal
- Date: 30th November 2012
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (NOVEMBER 30, 2012) (REUTERS) FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE LISTENING
- Embargoed: 15th December 2012 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: International Relations,Economy,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAAFQ7RAE24QSARUDDMCYOWH2Z4
- Story Text: German lawmakers approved the latest bailout for Greece on Friday (November 30) by a large majority despite growing unease about the cost to taxpayers less than a year before federal elections.
The outcome of the vote in the lower house was never in doubt but it was a test of Chancellor Angela Merkel's authority over her centre-right coalition. She did not manage to draw an absolute majority from her own ranks after 23 of her lawmakers rebelled.
But with the main opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens voting in favour with most of Merkel's bloc, the revolt had only symbolic value. Of 584 deputies present in the chamber, 473 voted for the bailout and 100 voted against.
The package, which aims to cut the Greek debt load to 124 of national output by 2020, coincides with increased speculation among German lawmakers and media that euro zone governments will eventually have to write off much of the Greek debt they hold.
The SPD has accused the government of deceiving German voters by insisting that no further writedowns of Greek debt will be necessary, but it is difficult for the strongly pro-euro centre-left party to make political capital out of this issue.
"You know that the basic figures for Greece... all lead up to a write-off of (Greek) debt," SPD floor leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, a former foreign minister.
Merkel's policy of talking tough on austerity in Greece and other heavily indebted euro zone countries while making the necessary concessions to avert a messy default commands broad support in Germany, where the chancellor is as popular as ever.
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