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November 07, 2012

Greek Lawmakers to Vote on New Austerity Measures

by VOA News

Greek lawmakers are preparing to vote Wednesday on new austerity measures required for another infusion of bailout funding from the European Union, as a public workers' strike is in its second day.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to narrowly win support for the austerity package, which includes $17 billion in cuts to spending, benefits and pensions and tax increases.

If parliament rejects the package, Greece will run out of money by mid-November.

Samaras says Greece could be forced out of the eurozone if lawmakers do not pass the measures.

Meanwhile, thousands of union workers are expected to rally Wednesday in front of the parliament building in Athens, following a day of demonstrations Tuesday.

Taxis and other transit options, including train and ferry service, remain shut down Wednesday. Schools and government offices remain closed, and many flights in and out of the country have been delayed, if not canceled.

More than 35,000 people marched through Athens Tuesday in two demonstrations.

Greece is in the fifth year of a severe recession.  More than a quarter of its workforce is unemployed.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.