The Democratic Left party has declared that it is withdrawing from the coalition government in protest to the ongoing row over the closure of national broadcaster ERT.
The party is the smallest in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras but its departure will be a major blow to the credibility of a government reeling under a backlash over the closure of ERT.
A Democratic Left spokesman said; “On the basis of developments and the Prime Ministers policies, the Democratic Left has decided to withdraw its ministers and general secretaries from government.”
The party announced its decision to withdraw from government after talks broke down at a meeting to decide on how to resume ERT transmissions. The party said that it was furious to have not been consulted over the decision to close the broadcaster in order to save money. Several parties have called the act an attack on democracy.
Friday’s events have also raised the spectre of the possibility of the country heading back to the election polls. However, all three coalition member parties have discounted holding snap elections which would put the governments reforms required under the troika bailout at risk.
“The country doesn’t need elections,” Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said in a statement on Friday, after announcing the withdrawal of his ministers from the cabinet.
In a defiant address to Greeks after midnight, Samaras said he was ready to press ahead without the leftists if necessary.
“I want us to continue together as we started but I will move on either way,” Samaras said in a televised statement following the collapse of three-party talks on the future of the ERT radio and TV station.
“Our aim is to conclude our effort to save the country, always with a four-year term in our sights.”
The disputed station remains off air despite court rulings ordering it to be switched back on; workers however have continued to broadcast a bootleg version on the internet.
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