Germany backs bailout as Athens mulls polls

The German parliament approved a third bailout for Greece yesterday after finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said the country should get “a new start”, while in Athens the government agonised over whether to call a snap election.

Germany backs bailout as Athens mulls polls

The Bundestag vote cleared one of the final obstacles to Greece getting funding so that it can make a €3.2bn debt repayment to the ECB today.

But a sizeable number of conservative politicians rebelled against Chancellor Angela Merkel, objecting to pouring yet more billions into Greece.

The Dutch parliament also gave its blessing to the Greek rescue, while the board of the eurozone’s bailout fund was holding a teleconference to approve disbursing the first tranche of funds under the new Greek programme.

In Athens, prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his inner circle debated whether to take on anti-bailout rebels in his own radical left Syriza party by calling a parliamentary confidence vote or to go straight to early elections.

Popular misgivings about more aid for Athens run deep in Germany, the eurozone country which has already contributed most to Greece’s two previous bailouts since 2010.

However, Mr Tsipras secured the third programme by promising to impose reform and austerity policies that are so onerous that a sizeable number of Syriza politicians rejected the deal in parliament last Friday.

Mr Schaeuble, who took a tough negotiating stand with Greece as it came close to financial collapse, admitted he wasn’t sure whether the Tsipras government would stick to its promises.

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