The Greek parliament has narrowly voted in favour of the £25bn package of austerity measures designed to prevent the country defaulting on its debts.
MPs passed the measures by 155 votes to 138. A second vote will be held on Thursday that changes the law and allows the package to be implemented.
The package, proposed by prime minister George Papandreou, of tax increases and spending cuts, must be passed in separate votes today and tomorrow for the country to receive the next instalment of the 110bn euro bail-out from the IMF and EU agreed 12 months ago.
Tens of thousands of Greeks have been taking to the streets since early on Tuesday, in a 48-hour strike against the debt-reduction package.
Yesterday evening, new International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde had called on Greek politicians to unite ahead of the vote on the country’s £25bn austerity package.
She said: “The country’s destiny is at stake. If I have a message this evening about Greece, it is a call to Greek opposition to join in national unity with the party which is currently in power.”