Greek Parliament Gives PM a Nod

Greeces Parliament gave embattled Prime Minister George Papandreou a vote of confidence on Tuesday night a key milestone in convincing European authorities to approve an emergency bailout.

The Mediterranean nation is seeking a $17 billion emergency aid package, without which, it might have to either restructure, or worse, default on its debt obligations.  Such an event, analysts say, can cause a cascading effect that could pressure global credit markets.

Greece faces a nearly half a trillion dollar public debt burden that amounts to staggering 150% of its annual economic output.  The European Union and International Monetary Fund have already provided Greece a roughly $160 billion bailout, but it proved to be insufficient.

Euro zone financial ministers met Monday and gave Greece a deadline of two weeks to prove that it is on the path to reform before it will provide additional aid.  Indeed, European officials have been pushing the country to take deeper austerity measures than it already has: likely including spending cuts and tax increases.  The Greek public, however, has been vocally against such measures, staging large-scale protests.

Acknowledging those concerns, Papandreou rejiggered his cabinet, replacing his finance minister who was considered responsible for the initial round of austerity measures. Even with the vote of confidence behind him, Papandreou will have to convince Parliament to actually pass the unpopular measures.

U.S. stock futures had little reaction to the vote, which was expected to pass, Tuesday evening.