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Greek PM Faces Crucial Vote Of Confidence


Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a confidence vote in parliament today on his new cabinet.

Papandreou reshuffled his cabinet on June 18 amid political infighting and public protests over plans to cut spending and sell state assets to deal with the country's debt crisis.

He's called on the country to accept the cuts to avoid the "catastrophic consequences" of a default

In Brussels, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he hoped Greek legislators would offer broad support to the new government.

"The European Union is prepared to support Greece if Greece follows the terms of the agreement we negotiated with the Greek government," Barroso said. "I think a majority would be enough, but it is desirable to have as broad a consensus as possible."

On June 20, Greek lawmakers debated the unpopular plans, which aim to save 6.5 billion euros ($9.3 billion) this year and 28 billion euros through 2015. The plans also aim to raise 50 billion euros from the sale of state assets.

Euro-zone finance ministers have given Athens two weeks to approve the measures to secure 12 billion euros, the latest tranche of 110 billion euros of loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union.

Meanwhile, rolling blackouts have hit Greece as the country's main utility protests the company's planned privatization.

compiled from agency reports

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