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Greece's coalition government threatened after split; TV to blame

Greece’s smallest political party in parliament is wielding increasingly powerful votes after withdrawing from the coalition government on Friday over debate around the state broadcaster.

The Democratic Left voted to leave Prime Minister’s Antonis Samaras’s government when he shuttered the state TV and radio broadcaster this week, creating 2,600 layoffs.

The party with 14 votes in the 300-seat parliament balked when Samaras offered to rehire 2,000 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."

Samaras closed the state broadcaster ERT 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 PM 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, BBC reported online, and the interest rates on 10-year government bonds climbed slightly.

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

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