Time to end vicious cycle, pleads Greek PM as violence greets tough reforms

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says it time to end the “vicious cycle” of cuts. After a night of violence which saw police pelted with petrol bombs in Athens after unpopular tax and pensions reforms were passed, Mr Tsipras urged Eurozone leaders to implement debt relief. Tsipras survived a crucial test of his wafer-thin majority, as all 153 of the ruling coalition’s lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament voted in favour of the changes. But tensions over the deal are still simmering as largely peaceful demonstrations outside parliament in the capital and in Thessaloniki turned violent.

We have an important opportunity before us for the country to break this vicious cycle, and enter a virtuous cycle.

Alexis Tsipras

The reforms will reduce some pension payouts, merge a number of pension funds, increase social security contributions and put up taxes for middle and high earners. The measures have been deeply unpopular with anti-austerity campaigners and trade unions, but Mr Tsipras argued they would not affect most pensioners and moved the country towards a “sustainable” system. But he came under attack from opposition leaders, who accused him of betraying voters who re-elected his government last September on promises to ease the pain of austerity and protect pensions. “Mr Prime Minister, you promised hope and turned it into despair,” said Fofi Gennimata, leader of the opposition PASOK socialists.

The measures will be a tombstone for growth prospects.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of the conservative New Democracy party