The closure of state broadcaster ERT is threatening to tip Greece into another political crisis as shock over the shutdown ignited anger among the population, causing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to arrange a meeting of his coalition allies to see if the battered government can survive.
Following the closure of ERT mass protests erupted across Greece, generating political fallout which led to speculation that snap elections could be held. Samaras opponent, Alexis Tsipras of the left-wing SYRIZA party called the broadcasters closure an attack on democracy and is due to hold a rally in Athens Syntagma square Monday evening.
Samaras meanwhile is due to meet with coalition partners including the leaders of the smaller socialist and leftist parties in the group and who strongly oppose ERT’s closure. They have demanded the stations immediate restoration and have urged Samaras to back down, warning that the fragile coalition could collapse if he persists with the cull of ERT. A cull that has sparked outrage among the Greek media and drawn condemnation from media groups from abroad.
Samaras on Sunday accused his coalition partners of “hypocrisy”, arguing that public service job cuts are part of austerity goals that are a government priority to maintain access to EU-IMF bailout loans.
“The elimination of 2,000 public sector jobs between now and June was signed up to by all the heads of the three parties of the governing coalition,” Samaras told a conference of New Democracy party officials.”From where should we cut these jobs apart from the undeserving ERT … one of the bastions of obscurity and privileges?” he wondered.
To ease some of the anger Samaras announced that ERT could reopen with a reduced number of staff and slimmed down news service, a stance that his coalition partners rejected.
Samaras will feel some relieve however after two opnion polls showed that while the majority of Greeks opposed the closure of ERT they also don’t want to see snap elections. The Research poll shows that 57.1% of Greeks do not want early elections to be held, whilst 40.1% would like to vote soon.
The survey also puts New Democracy narrowly ahead of SYRIZA, with a 21.4 to 21.1 percent rating. Golden Dawn was in third with 9.5 percent, PASOK in fourth with 6.3 percent, the Communist Party on 5.1 percent, Independent Greeks with 4.4 percent and Democratic Left with 3.9 percent.
Current Euro (EUR) Exchange Rates
The Euro/US Dollar Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 1.3357
The Euro/Pound Sterling Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 0.8480
The Euro/Australian Dollar Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 1.3929
The Euro/ New Zealand Dollar Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 1.6572
The US Dollar/Euro Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 0.7492
The Pound Sterling /Euro Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 1.1789
The Australian Dollar/Euro Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 0.7187
The New Zealand Dollar/Euro Exchange Rate is currently in the region of: 0.6039
(Correct as of 14:45 pm GMT)