Greek Parl't to start debate on austerity laws

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek lawmakers are poised to begin debate on legislation introducing the severe austerity measures necessary for the country to secure a €130 billion bailout and stave off bankruptcy.

The legislation will also approve a bond-swapping deal with private creditors that will allow Greece to shave off at least €100 billion of its €360 billion debt.

The debate was due to start early afternoon and continue until midnight (2200 GMT; 5 p.m. EST). Unions have called for a large protest outside Parliament starting at 5 p.m.

The two parties backing the coalition government have 236 deputies in the 300-member parliament. But at least 13 conservative and seven socialist lawmakers have declared they will vote against, defying their leaders' threats of sanctions. Early Sunday, a conservative lawmaker resigned, joining three socialists who did the same earlier this week. All have been replaced.