ATHENS - The Greek parliament passed a second austerity bill on Thursday, opening the way for the EU and IMF to release a 12 billion euro ($17 billion) loan installment which Athens urgently needs to stave off bankruptcy.
The vote on detailed measures to implement 28 billion euros in spending cuts, tax increases and privatizations passed without any of the wild street battles which marred Wednesday's vote on an initial austerity bill.
The Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers is now likely to approve payment of the latest loan installment this weekend.
"I am very satisfied because now I can go to Eurogroup strengthened by a vote of confidence and two approved bills," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Reuters. "We can now move to the next stage of finding a viable solution."