ATHENS — The 2021 state budget was approved by 158 votes in parliament after a five-day debate and a roll-call vote on Thursday night.
Due to coronavirus safety protocols and concerns, some of the 300-strong parliament members voted by letter, while those present voted through the parliament's e-tally system.
A majority of 189 MPs approved the expenditures of the National Defense ministry and 266 MPs those of the Presidency of Democracy.
In addition, 158 MPs approved all other ministries' expenditures, with 142 voting against. The exception was the Citizen Protection ministry budget, which was approved by 159 MPs and rejected by 141 MPs.
The budget was debated over five days. Parliament President Constantine Tassoulas said the plenary was in session for 60 hours, and speakers included 234 MPs, 37 members of the government and 6 party leaders. He added that it was the first time it was unnecessary to reduce speaking times in order to accomodate all signed-up speakers.
According to budget figures, the country is expected to see a 10.5% contraction of its gross domestic product this year, before registering 4.8% growth next year.
Due to the pandemic, bailout lenders have waived a requirement for Greece to deliver balanced budgets in 2020 and 2021. The budget deficit before debt servicing costs is expected to reach 11.76 billion euros ($14,3 billion) this year and 6.67 billion ($8.1 billion) next year, respectively worth 7.22% and 3.88% of GDP.
The debt-to-GDP ratio is set to surge to 208.9% this year, though much of that debt is held by European Union bailout lenders who have granted the country favorable repayment terms.