BRUSSELS/ATHENS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Greece's leftist government was forced by international lenders to withdraw a parallel economic programme bill from parliament on Thursday after they threatened to withhold the next 1 billion euros in aid, EU and Greek sources said.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had submitted a package of social justice measures to lawmakers to assuage criticism in his Syriza party of tough reforms they had been forced to adopt under the country's third bailout programme.
A Greek parliament source said the bill had been removed from the agenda and would now be discussed in early January. A euro zone source said senior officials of the currency area were meeting to approve releasing the aid payment after Athens backed down.
The bailout agreed last August stipulates that all economic legislation must be submitted for prior consultation to the institutions representing euro zone and International Monetary Fund creditors. (Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou in Brussels and Lefteris Papadimas in Athens; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Noah Barkin)