Greece's parliament backed the government's reform plan containing austerity measures to win a third bailout early Saturday, but with the government suffering significant losses from dissenting lawmakers.
The motion, which sought to authorize the government to use the proposal as a basis for negotiation with international creditors during the weekend, passed with 251 votes in favor, 32 against and 8 voting 'present' — a form of abstention — in the 300-member parliament.
Those who voted 'present' or were absent, as well as two of those who voted against, were members of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' left-wing Syriza party — raising questions about the stability of his government.
The dissenters included two ministers — Panagiotis Lafazanis who holds the energy portfolio and Dimitris Stratoulis who holds the social security portfolio — and prominent party member and Parliament Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou.
"I support the government but I don't support an austerity program of neoliberal deregulation and privatizations which ... would prolong the vicious circle of recession, poverty and misery," Lafazanis said in a statement released to the press explaining his "radical and categorical" objection to the proposal.
Former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned this week, was absent for family reasons, saying on Twitter he was spending the weekend with his daughter who was visiting from Australia. Although he sent a letter saying he would have voted in favor had he been present, it could not be counted among the 'yes' votes under parliamentary rules.
All opposition parties except the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn and the Communist Party voted in favor.
The proposed measures, including tax hikes and cuts in pension spending, are certain to inflict more pain on a Greek public who just days ago voted overwhelmingly against a similar plan.
But the new proposal, if approved by Greece's international creditors, will provide longer-term financial support for a nation that has endured six years of recession.
Without a deal, Greece faces the immediate prospect of crashing out of Europe's joint currency, the euro. It would be the first nation to do so.
If the proposal is approved, Greece would get a three-year loan package worth nearly $60 billion (53.5 billion euros) as well as some form of debt relief. That is far more than the 7.2 billion euros left over from Greece's previous bailout that had been at stake in the country's five-month negotiations until last month.
Speaking earlier in the debate that began just before midnight Friday, Tsipras acknowledged the reforms his government has proposed were harsh and include measures far from his party's election pledges, but insisted they were Greece's best chance to emerge from its financial crisis.
Tsipras said his government had made mistakes during his six-month tenure but said he had negotiated as hard as he could.
"There is no doubt that for six months now we've been in a war," he said, adding that his government had fought "difficult battles" and had lost some of them.
"Now I have the feeling we've reached the boundary line. From here on there is a minefield, and I don't have the right to dismiss this or hide it from the Greek people," he said.