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Kouvelis Pulls DIMAR From Greek Coalition

kouvelis11Democratic Left (DIMAR) chief Fotis Kouvelis on June 21 said that he is yanking his tiny group from the uneasy Greek coalition led by Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, who said he will now rule with the backing of his other partner, the PASOK Socialists.
The break came after Kouvelis refused to back Samaras’ closing of the national broadcaster ERT and the firing of all 2,656 workers and wouldn’t accept a compromise – as did PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos – to restore it temporarily to the air to meet a court order, but with 2,000 workers while the government tries to create a pared-down entitity called NERIT.
Kouvelis reluctantly joined the coalition when Samaras was elected a year ago because the New Democracy leader, whose party won only 125 seats in Parliament, needed partners to govern after a second-try election that left Greece reeling in instability.
Since then, Kouvelis has occasionally objected to an onslaught of pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions, but then relented. He said the closing of ERT and mass firings were the last straw for him. Samaras, who brought DIMAR into the coalition to give a broader sense of legitimacy, doesn’t need him, however and said he and PASOK will fill out the remaining three years together.
Samaras said Kouvelis and Venizelos had earlier agreed to the firing of 2,500 workers on the orders of international lenders and blamed the DIMAR leader from walking away from a compromise.

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