Greece: Tsipras Faces Dissent on Bailout Deal

With members of his own party openly denouncing a preliminary rescue deal struck with Greece's European creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must fight to cling to his government's majority after he was forced to shred election promises and introduce punishing austerity measures in exchange for the bailout.

Tsipras, who flew home Monday from grueling night-long negotiations with European leaders, will chair an executive meeting of his Syriza party early Tuesday before lawmakers begin a two-day debate on the deal — set to heap more tax hikes and spending cuts on a country already suffering through six years of recession.

The deal ensures that Greece avoids an imminent financial catastrophe and an exit from the Eurozone. But Panos Kammenos, leader of the junior partner in Tsipras' coalition government, called the bailout plan a German-led "coup."

"This deal introduced many new issues ... we cannot agree with it," Kammenos said after meeting with Tsipras.

Other Greeks rallied Monday night outside Parliament in Athens, urging lawmakers to reject the new demands.

Around 30 out of Syriza's 149 lawmakers are likely to vote against the government. Many held private meetings late Monday.

Tsipras had to consent to a raft of austerity measures, including sales tax hikes and pension and labor reforms — measures he had campaigned vociferously against over the last five years of Greece's financial crisis.

Since his election in January, the youthful Tsipras has faced intense pressure to backpedal on many of his promises to Greece's exhausted electorate. Finally, faced Sunday by the leaders of the 18 other nations that share the euro and the knowledge that Greek banks were just days away from running out of money, the moment came when he couldn't resist any more.

A series of supposed red lines vanished, including objections to tight international oversight of Greece's economy, continued involvement by the International Monetary Fund in Greece's bailout program and cuts to pensions.

The result of marathon negotiations emerged Monday: about 85 billion euros ($95.1 billion) in loans and financial support for Greece over three years that will preserve its membership in the euro, shore up its banks and allow a modicum of stability to return to the battered Greek economy.

Creditors have also dangled the carrot of a possible future debt restructuring in the event of a smooth bailout.

"We managed to avoid the most extreme measures," Tsipras said.

But in many cases, ordinary Greeks now face tougher measures than those they voted down in a nationwide referendum a little over a week ago.

Syriza's Left Platform, a group of traditionalists in Tsipras' own party, swiftly denounced the agreement as the "worst deal possible ... (one) that maintains the country's status: a debt colony under a German-run European Union."

Experts were divided over the result.

"It was the best deal the Greeks could get," says Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "They did not do too badly given the terrible, terrible, disastrous starting point the current government put them in."

But Ashoka Mody, visiting professor of international finance at Princeton University, says the deal just repeats policies that have already failed.

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