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MENAFN - ecPulse - 12/11/2012

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Greeces debt-ridden government approved a rigid budget of spending cuts and tax hikes for 2013 though Parliament early Monday, moving a step closer to secure International aid and stave off bankruptcy.

A total of 167 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill which introduces a fresh round of belt-tightening measures, against 128, as four casted a blank vote with 299 MPs present in the 300-seat Parliament.

PM Antonis Samarass coalition government has marked another key step in unlocking aid payments to shore up the nations finances, with both pieces of the legislature required to set free a stalled rescue loan.

Euro zone finance ministers are not expected to sign off on the 31.5 billion-euro tranche of aid to help Greece when they meet in Brussels later Monday; however Samaras said he now expected the funds to be on the way.

"Greece has done its part, now its the turn of the lenders," Samaras told the Parliament before the vote, saying the money would be given "in due time and in full", referring to the release of the bailout tranche.

Meanwhile, the Eurogroup awaits a final verdict about the state of Greeces debt pile from the so-called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The first bill was approved last Wednesday, with a slim majority of 153 votes. The stormy midnight ballot witnessed growing dissents, as seven deputies were expelled from their ranks for not backing the measures.

Greece could run out of cash reserves by Nov. 16 without the next aid payment, Samaras said over October. However, foreign lenders are seen standing at odds over whether the debt-laden country will ever be able to pay back everything it owes!

A European Official said Friday Nov. 26 is the possible date for euro area finance ministers to sign off the next tranche of rescue aid to Greece, according to Bloomberg News.

Greece will sell new treasury bills at an auction Tuesday in order to cover its immediate financing needs until it receives the crucial disbursement.


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