When the Parliament last voted in July on opening new bailout negotiations with the leftist-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, 60 of Merkel’s MPs went against her. In a test vote on Tuesday ahead of the debate, 56 members of her bloc voted against the package and there were four abstentions.
Thanks in part to the support of the Social Democrats, Merkel’s junior coalition partner, and the opposition Greens, the package sailed through the Bundestag lower house with 454 lawmakers voting for, 113 against and 18 abstaining. But a rebellion by a large number of her allies would be damaging for Merkel.
Mr Schaeuble says he backs the new bailout deal – although he had earlier put forward a plan for Greece to take a “time out” from the euro, in order to stabilise its precarious finances. The first tranche will be €26bn – €10bn to recapitalise Greek banks and €16bn in several instalments, the first of which – €13bn – will be made by 20 August, when Greece must repay about €3.2bn to the European Central Bank (ECB).
“Of course, … after the experience of the past months and years, there are no guarantees that everything will work, and doubts are always permitted”, he told lawmakers, who were recalled from their summer vacation for the vote.
A yes vote from the German parliament is not in doubt, although there have been nagging questions for chancellor Angela Merkel about divisions within her own conservative ranks.
To counter that, Merkel’s government has been talking tough on the new rescue package, insisting Greece will be supervised closely and that there will be no write-off – or “haircut” – on the loans the country owes Germany.
On Tuesday, MPs in Austria, Estonia and Spain backed the bailout.
Political tension before the vote Wednesday, in which conservative lawmakers staged a revolt against extending more credit for Greece, revealed the deep internal divisions being felt in Germany over its dual role.
The Netherlands endorsed a third bailout for Greece on Wednesday as both the cabinet and parliament approved the step after a bruising debate in which Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s credibility was challenged.
German MPs have overwhelmingly approved a third bailout deal for Greece, despite opposition from some conservative politicians. Germany’s was the largest contributor to the two previous Greek bailouts. The German parliament will vote on it on Wednesday.
Under the terms of the deal, Greece has to make further spending cuts and tax increases and implement big reforms to its economy. Greece has suffered through an economic depression in the past six years and seen unemployment jump to over 25 per cent.
Hardliners within his party have accused him of capitulating to unreasonable demands that will plunge the Greek economy further into recession.