Is the Greek coalition government about to fall? And will the fatal blow be the Troika’s lab or demands?
The coalition appeared on the brink of collapse Tuesday night, and the issue was the Troika’s relentless demands to curb the political power of Greek labor.
From Andy Dabilis of Greek Reporter:
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ uneasy coalition government has started to come apart over demands by international lenders for even deeper austerity measures as his partners, the PASOK Socialists of Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left of Fotis Kouvelis, said they will not support the firing of public workers, reductions in severance pay and a six-day work week, Greek media reported.
The government has been trying for weeks to finalize a package of $17.45 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes that Venizelos and Kouvelis have alternately supported and opposed, then opposed and supported, and now oppose again with polls showing their parties sinking rapidly because of their role in a government ready to impose harsh austerity measures on workers, pensioners and the poor.
More from Keep Talking Greece:
Samaras coalition government partners, and leader of Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis said on Tuesday evening that his party will down vote all the Troika-imposed measures that concern the labour rights.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting with PM Samaras and coalition partner Venizelos (PASOK), Kouvelis said among others:
“We categorically reject the Troika demands.The minimum wage has nothing to do with structural reforms. We will not vote in favor of the austerity in labour rights at the Parliament.”
For anyone following Greek politics these days, the signs of schism are unmistakeable.
While the nominally leftist coalition partners had signed on the agenda of the dominant New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the notion of destroying the few remaining rights of organized labor are proving too much.
Both rising opposition parties, Syriza and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, are opposed to the neoliberal premises of New Democracy, leaving the two nominally left parties holding the bag.
The Troika’s relentless push to demolish the last vestiges of labor power may be the straw that breaks the coalition camel’s back.