Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras mustered support inParliament to approve austerity measures needed to unlock bailoutfunds, in a tense vote that weakened his majority after theexpulsion of seven dissenting lawmakers.

The bill on pension, wage and benefit cuts was approved with 153votes in favor in the 300-seat Parliament early today, according toacting Parliament speaker Athanasios Nakos. A total of 128 votedagainst the bill, with 18 voting “present.” One lawmaker wasabsent.

Samaras fought to stem defections from the three-partycoalition, which boasted 179 seats when formed in June, as Europeanleaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel look for signsthat Greek action justifies their efforts to keep the country inthe euro. The second round of cuts to pensions and wages this yeardrew more than 50,000 protesters to Parliament as the governmentargued for support of the bill.

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