Greece's ruling coalition hit by departure of Democratic Left
The junior partner's 14 legislators have left the agreement, over the closure of the state broadcaster
Greece's ruling coalition government has been left with a tiny majority after the junior partner left in disagreement over the abrupt closure of the state broadcaster.
Last week, prime minister Antonis Samaras announced he had pulled the plug on ERT, sacking all 2,656 employees. Both Pasok and the Democratic Left - who support Samaras' conservative-led coalition - objected to the decision.
And today, the Democratic Left party has left the coalition.
The leftist party's departure will be a blow to the conservative Samaras, who is left with a three-seat majority in parliament, making it tougher to pass unpopular reforms, including the pledged sackings of 15,000 public sector employees by 2015 in return for the country's international bailout money.
Democratic Left have yet to decide whether to offer external support in parliament to keep the bailout on track.
In a televised statement, Samaras said: "I want us to continue together as we started but I will move on either way."
His spokesman, Simos Kedikoglou, said Samaras had sufficient majority "to lead the country out of the crisis".
The reforms are demanded by Greece's foreign creditors. The European Union and the International Monetary Fund will next month inspect whether the country remains on course to make the cuts.
Samaras's conservative New Democracy party and its remaining socialist PASOK ally command 153 deputies in the 300-seat parliament, so they can muddle through for a while without the 14 departing lawmakers.
At least two independent legislators have suggested they would back Samaras's government, which came to power a year ago in an uneasy pro-bailout coalition aimed at ensuring Greece stayed in the euro zone after nearly going bankrupt.
The coalition has bickered over a range of issues from austerity policies to immigration, and lawmakers from Samaras's parties have accused Democratic Left of blocking public sector reforms needed to secure bailout funds.
Officials from all three parties ruled out snap elections, which would derail the bailout programme, for now.
"The country doesn't need elections," Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said in a statement, saying the party would continue with its reform policy.
The decision to pull out was not unanimous and four party officials later called it a "suicidal" move. "This was a leap into the void," they said in a statement.
ERT remains off air despite the high court ruling that it be brought back on. Workers have continued broadcasting an online 24-hour bootleg version from their headquarters.
The corporation's payroll costs have fallen since the country's first bailout in 2010. It makes money primarily through adverts and obligatory contributions from all Greeks, whether they own a TV or not.
After years of murky finances, the corporation is now turning a modest profit, and critics argue that sacking its entire workforce makes no financial sense, particularly as the government will have to compensate all laid-off workers.
The closure on June 11 sparked days of protests outside the corporation's Athens headquarters, and was sharply criticised abroad.
PASOK is expected to get a bigger role in the government after Democratic Left's departure, with its lawmakers likely to fill more ministerial positions as part of a reshuffle expected as early as over the weekend.
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...