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Bailout Vote May Splinter Greece's Recently Empowered Anti-Austerity Party


And to Europe now, the Greek Parliament is frantically trying to pass fast-track reforms to clear the way for a European bailout that would keep the country solvent and in the eurozone. These reforms are expected to pass tonight. That's despite opposition by many even inside Greece's governing coalition. Joanna Kakissis has the latest from Athens.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Greek state TV Monday night that he felt like the country was suffering from post-traumatic stress because it's been backed into a corner by European leaders. But he says he signed a financially restrictive deal that he does not believe in because Greece has no other option to stay solvent.


PRIME MINISTER ALEXIS TSIPRAS: (Through interpreter) I will take responsibility because right now I must make sure the country and its people don't fall into a giant economic catastrophe. I've got to make sure that the banking system is not destroyed and people's bank deposits are not lost. I've got to make sure this country is not left ungoverned and without a rudder.

KAKISSIS: Tsipras spent most of Monday huddled with parliamentary deputies from his leftist Syriza party. Some radicals in the party say they will not vote for the pension cuts and tax hikes that must be approved today. It's unclear if those lawmakers will stay in the party. Several lawmakers from Syriza's governing partner - the populist right-wing Independent Greeks - may not vote for the reforms either. But party leader and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos says he will remain in the government because enemies from inside and outside Greece are trying to force it out.


PANOS KAMMENOS: (Through interpreter) This is an ongoing attempt at a coup. These forces would like to replace a government chosen by the people with something else.

KAKISSIS: Opposition politicians are less conspiratorial. Stavros Theodorakis, the leader of the centrist Potami party, says all lawmakers should set aside partisan politics and unite for the good of the country.


STAVROS THEODORAKIS: (Through interpreter) It's just not acceptable for the prime minister to sign such an important deal and then for lawmakers to refuse to back him for internal political reasons. They just can't do that.

KAKISSIS: A new public opinion poll shows that most Greeks believe a new bailout deal is necessary and want Tsipras to remain as prime minister to guide them through it. For NPR News, I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Joanna Kakissis is a foreign correspondent based in Kyiv, Ukraine, where she reports poignant stories of a conflict that has upended millions of lives, affected global energy and food supplies and pitted NATO against Russia.
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