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Greece's coalition government threatened after Democratic Left withdraws

Greece’s smallest political party in parliament, the Democratic Left, voted to leave Prime Minister’s Antonis Samaras’s coalition government Friday.

The withdrawal was in reaction to Samaras shuttering the state TV and radio broadcaster ERT last week, resulting in 2,600 layoffs. It leaves Samaras' coalition with a slim majority, making it harder to pass the reforms needed to please foreign lenders.

The party, with 14 votes in the 300-seat parliament, balked when Samaras offered to rehire 2,000 ERT employees, but didn’t suggest it would bring down the New Democratic-led government with a no-confidence vote.

"The country doesn't need elections," party leader Fotis Kouvelis said, according to Reuters. "The Democratic Left insists on its reform policy and will continue to seek and demand solutions within the European reality."

The move may leave the Democratic Left with more influence since it said it would vote for issues it supported, instead of upholding all of the tenuous coalition's policies.

Samaras closed ERT last week to meet bailout targets imposed by the European Union. He called it a bloated beacon for political patronage, a “sinful” and “wasteful” use of government money.

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In a late-night TV address, the Greek prime minister said he will continue to govern with his slim majority; the New Democrats and ally PASOK have 153 seats.

"I want us to continue together as we started but I will move on either way," Samaras said, according to Greek media. "Our aim is to conclude our effort to save the country, always with a four-year term in our sights."

The Athens stock exchange fell 3 percent on news of the coalition’s split, and the interest rates on 10-year government bonds climbed slightly, according to BBC News.

A court ruled that ERT's stations can resume broadcasting, but they remained off air Friday due to differing interpretations of the judge’s decision, BBC News said.

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