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German parliament approves Greek bailout extension
German lawmakers approved the extension of Greek bailout program on Friday.
In a vote at Bundestag, the lower house of German parliament, 542 of the 587 lawmakers who participated in the ballot voted yes to the extension, with 32 against and 13 abstentions.
The approval on Friday, which was necessary for the extension until the end of June to come into force, was no surprise as German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition holds 80 percent of the parliament seats.
In a test vote on Thursday, only 22 among the 311 lawmakers of Merkel's conservative bloc of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) rejected the deal.
The Social Democratic Party, the bloc's coalition partner which holds 193 seats, supported the extension unanimously.
Doubts about the Greek government's credibility, however, prevail in Germany, the paymaster for the 240-billion-euro bailout for Greece.
A recent poll showed that only 21 percent of Germans support the extension of aid program.
Before the vote on Friday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reassured the lawmakers that the extension only granted extra time to "successfully end" the current bailout program instead of softening conditions for Greek government or more aid to the indebted country.
He also urged Greece to do its own part as "solidarity has something to do with reliability."
In a recent interview with German media, the minister said Greece had to fulfill its reform commitments made to international creditors in order to receive outstanding money from the current bailout.
[Source: Xinhua, Berlin, 27Feb15]
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