Fri Oct 21st, 2011 at 02:15:27 AM EST
The victory should ensure the European Union and International Monetary Fund release a vital 8 billion euro ($11 billion) loan tranche which the government needs to keep paying its bills past November.
The mix of deep pay and pension cuts, tax hikes and changes to collective bargaining agreements has been bitterly opposed and at least 70,000 people joined protests in Athens' Syntagma Square in front of parliament.
Groups of black-clad youths clashed with rivals from PAME, a communist-affiliated labor group, and police later cleared the square.
At least 74 people were taken to hospital with injuries and one man died of a heart attack on the fringes of the protest, but officials said he had not been hurt in the incidents.
...The head of the Greek Communist party, Aleka Papariga condemned the violence which she said had been deliberately provoked by groups of "hood-wearers".
"This was a pre-meditated attack," she told reporters, saying the rioters served the interests of what she termed "specific mechanisms".
"No matter what happens, we're not leaving," she said. "There's no other way out, people have to take the situation into their own hands."
"I will vote in favor, but this is the last time -- I am struggling with my conscience," said Vasso Papandreou, one of the dissenters who decided to go along with the package.
"Enough is enough, society is despairing, the country is collapsing," she said to applause from other PASOK deputies.
...There has been widespread speculation the government will fall early, forcing a election before the scheduled date in 2013, but Papandreou has repeatedly ruled out stepping down early.
How many more votes...
What would an election change?
"I will be protesting every day, it's a matter of survival. They must go," said 49-year-old Yannis Zahariadis, a civil servant and father of four. "I was forced to borrow money from my mother, a pensioner, to make ends meet."
..."People sent a message on Wednesday that they have reached their limits and can't take any more austerity," said Theodore Couloumbis of the ELIAMEP think-tank.
How long is this going to last until it ends? What the end actually is going to look like?
"We are at a critical point, not only for us but for European history. I have never, in my memory, heard before from leaders of major European countries that there is danger of Europe coming apart," Papandreou told a cabinet meeting before the vote.