By Magda Panoutsopoulou
ATHENS (AA) - The Greek parliament has passed Sunday another controversial bill that includes extra tax hikes and reforms demanded by the country's international lenders in order to conclude the program review and unlock much needed financial aid.
MPs of the 300-seat parliament voted 153 in favor and 145.
“Today is a day of shame for the Greek parliament. We’re paying the price of the government’s lies,” said opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras criticized the main opposition leader for not supporting the bill.
“The government is fighting to achieve a “realistic solution […] a significant debt reduction, so we can take the weight off citizens’ backs who will be burdened with the process of reconstruction in this country for the next years,” he said during the debate.
The bill that was tabled in parliament on Thursday includes an increase by 1 percent in valued added tax raising it from 23 to 24, extra taxes on fuel, tobacco and alcohol while the government is also scheduled to form a new privatization fund, in addition to the sale of non-performing loans (NPL).
The much-criticized bill has prompted numerous protests these past few months, culminating in nationwide strikes.
Labor unions held a rally against the bill outside the parliament on Sunday while voting was underway.
The leftist prime minister initially came to power in January 2015, promising to repeal austerity measures imposed by previous governments under a deal for the country to receive international rescue loans.