Rescue Package

Bundestag Backs Merkel on Greece

Angie to the rescue. Or not. Source: Huber/Reuters
Angie to the rescue. Or not.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Bundestag passage of a third bailout plan for Greece gives its advocate, Angela Merkel, some political breathing room in Berlin, but not much.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Greece is to receive €86 billion, or $95 billion, to avoid insolvency through August 2018.
    • Ms. Merkel received heavy support from her own conservatives and her coalition partners, the Social Democrats, in the Bundestag vote.
    • It appeared that internal conservative party opposition to a Greek bailout did not increase in the vote on Wednesday.
  • Audio

    Audio

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German lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a third Greek bailout, delivering a potentially legacy-building victory to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who overcame internal political opposition to win more aid for the debt-ridden country.

The Bundestag said the measure was approved by 453-113 with 18 abstentions. The lower chamber has 631 members, suggesting that 46 German lawmakers did not show up for the vote, which was held during the summer break.

Although supporters outnumbered opponents by nearly four to one, the number of those openly opposing the bailout was 113, down from 119 in a July vote, signalling Ms. Merkel’s political exposure in a country where many oppose further bailouts.

Within the ranks of her own Social Democrats, 63 members voted no, with three abstentions and 17 no shows. The no vote appeared to remain steady from a previous vote in July on opening negotiations with Greece.

The Bundestag vote followed a three-hour floor debate that featured an endorsement of Ms. Merkel’s position by the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, who has been one of Greece’s toughest critics in Germany.

Ms. Merkel attended the floor debate but did not speak on the floor of parliament.

In July, only 60 of 311 members in Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian offshoot, the Christian Social Union, had voted against opening talks on the €86 billion ($94 billion) rescue plan.

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