Greek government wins confidence vote

The Greek parliament has approved Prime Minister George Papandreou’s reshuffled government which hopes to get support for its austerity plan.

The prime minister won 155 out of 300, 143 were against, with two abstentions.

Thousands of anti-austerity protesters massed outside parliament to hear the outcome of the vote, chanting “Thieves, thieves” and shining green laser lights at the parliament headquarters and into the eyes of riot police at Syntagma Square.

European Commission President Manuel Barroso warned that Greece faced a “moment of truth” and needed to show it was “genuinely committed to the ambitious package of further fiscal measures and privatizations” needed to avoid a sovereign default.

New Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos promised earlier that parliament would pass the unpopular austerity package by the end of June, which is necessary in order for the country to get the latest tranche of the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) EUR 110bn bail-out.

The Greek authorities have warned that the country will otherwise face bankruptcy.

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