Tsipras, Syriza clear Greek confidence vote ahead of debt talks | News | DW | 11.02.2015
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Tsipras, Syriza clear Greek confidence vote ahead of debt talks

Prime Minsiter Alexis Tsipras' government in Athens has cleared a vote of confidence, a day before Syriza presents its financial plans in Brussels. In parliament, Tsipras had strong words for Germany's finance minister.

Greece's coalition government led by the left-leaning Syriza group won Tuesday's late-night confidence vote by 162 to 137.

This result strongly suggested that the voting went along party lines. Syriza holds 149 seats in the Hellenic Parliament, while right-wing coalition allies Independent Greeks have another 13, making 162. Given Syriza's clear victory at the polls on January 25, the outcome of Tuesday's vote was not in serious doubt.

Speaking to parliament ahead of the ballot, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told lawmakers that his government would not request an extension to its existing "bailout" agreement with the EU, despite pressure from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

"I want to repeat today, no matter how much Schäuble asks it, we are not going to ask to extend the bailout," Tsipras said, saying that Greece "cannot return to an age of bailouts and suppression."

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Earlier on Tuesday, Schäuble seemed to reject talk of Greece renegotiating the terms of its emergency loans from eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund.

"We're not negotiating a new program. We already have a program," Schäuble said. When asked about the prospect of Greece failing to reach an interim deal with its inernational creditors, the veteran Christian Democrat said: "Fine. We never imposed that on anyone. Not a problem at all. But then it's over."

Schäuble's new opposite number in Athens, Yanis Varoufakis, is to propose his own plans to manage Greek liabilities to European officials in Brussels on Wednesday. Eurozone finance ministers, Schäuble included, will be on hand.

On Tuesday, Greece's new foreign minister, Nikos Kotzias, visited Berlin for talks with his opposite number Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

msh/bw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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