The Greek government has managed to squeeze through its budget plans for 2009, despite a razor thin majority. Of the 300 seat house, the conservatives of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis gained approval with a 151 votes. With planned cuts to public spending as the government seeks to curb national debt, the approval risks inflaming already widespread public anger.
Athens was marred by further street clashes over the weekend as anti-government protests entered a third week sparked by the police shooting of a teenager. While violence has dropped in the past few days, the protests have fed into deep discontent over youth unemployment, pension reforms and privatisations. The rioting has also seen Greece’s opposition socialists increase its lead over the government by six points in a weekend poll. With the government’s term of office not due to end before 2011, Karamanlis has rejected calls for an early election.