Arab Today, arab today greek legislators ratify home foreclosure law
Last Updated : GMT 16:24:29
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Greek legislators ratify home foreclosure law

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Greek legislators ratify home foreclosure law

Athens - XINHUA

In a second test for the government within hours, Greek lawmakers ratified on Saturday evening a law on home foreclosures requested by international lenders under the country's bailout deals. The bill, which partially lifts a previous moratorium on auctions, passed with 152 votes in favor versus 141 against, with 293 MPs presenting at the chamber during the roll call vote. The new loan opens the way for the confiscation of properties of debtors who cannot pay off their mortgages. It extends for a year to Jan. 1, 2015 protection for primary homes worth up to 200,000 euros (273,400 U.S. dollars) of low income households. The percentage of non-performing loans has increased to 29 percent this year up from 24 percent in 2012, according to the latest data from the central Bank of Greece. Earlier on Saturday with 152 votes the parliament had approved another key bill on real estate taxation which introduces higher taxes for certain categories of taxpayers. Both drafts had been strongly criticized as harsh on a recession-hit society by opposition parties and MPs of the ruling coalition of conservatives and socialists. A conservative legislator who voted against was expelled from the parliamentary group just after the first vote, leaving the government with 152 seats in parliament. The government insisted that both new laws have been designed thoroughly to distribute fairly tax burdens and raise revenues needed to slash deficits and exit the crisis which led Greece to the brink of default three years ago. In his address before the assembly ahead of the votes, Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis argued that the previous framework was being exploited by those who can pay their debts and taxes. After the implementation of a painful austerity and reform program in return of vital multi-billion financing aid by European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors, Greece expects to return to growth in 2014.

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