BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel managed to get a second Greek bailout approved in the German parliament on Monday without having to rely on the votes of opposition lawmakers, but she fell short of the wide majority needed for a convincing victory.
The motion passed easily, with 496 of the 591 members of the Bundestag (lower house) present in the chamber approving the 130-billion-euro ($175 billion) Greek aid program.
While the ruling centre-right coalition managed a majority with 304 votes in favor, it did not manage the 311 votes Merkel needed for a strong margin of victory - a largely symbolic threshold known as a “chancellor’s majority”.
With the main centre-left opposition in favor of the Greek package, there were 90 ‘No’ votes and five abstentions.
Some MPs from Merkel’s centre-right coalition have become increasingly critical of efforts to keep Greece in the euro zone and one of her own cabinet ministers said this weekend Greece’s chances of recovery would be greater outside the currency zone.
But Merkel told parliament before the vote that it would be “reckless” of her to expose Germany - and the euro zone and wider world - to the unknown consequences of a Greek default.
Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann and Thorsten Severin; Writing by Stephen Brown