Greek deputy finance minister resigns ahead of crucial vote

A file picture of Nadia Valavani leaving the Prime Minister's office at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece June 30, 2015. Ms Valavani, one of Greece's two deputy finance ministers resigned from the leftwing government on Wednesday, ahead of a crucial vote on reforms demanded by the country's creditors in exchange for a third bailout. PHOTO: REUTERS

ATHENS (AFP, REUTERS) - Greece's deputy finance minister Nadia Valavani resigned Wednesday, as parliament readied to vote on unpopular reforms needed to unlock a huge bailout from eurozone creditors.

"I'm not going to vote for this amendment and this means I cannot stay in the government," Ms Valavani told reporters. She submitted her resignation in a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

In a letter to Mr Tsipras made public by the finance ministry, Ms Valavani, in charge of taxation and overseeing privatisations, said: "...It is impossible to continue being a member of the government," explaining that austerity measures demanded for a third aid programme would set the country on a moribund path.

Ms Valavani is a member of Mr Tsipras's radical left Syriza party, which is deeply split over four bills that have to be adopted by Greece's parliament on Wednesday if the bailout, worth up to 86 billion euros (S$130 billion), is to be secured.

The reforms - including sweeping changes to taxes, pensions and labour laws - are seen as likely to pass with the help of the opposition, but the rebellion within Syriza risks having serious repercussions on Mr Tsipras and his government.

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