The two coalition partners submitted proposal to scrap ERT’s immediate closure but fall short of threatening to pull out of coalition;
  • Government presented its plan for a revamped state broadcaster with a staff of 1000 and to start in August;

13.06.2013

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Coalition partners seek compromise with Samaras over ERT

Pasok and Dimar, the two junior coalition parties in the Grand Coalition, submitted to Parliament on Wednesday a proposal for the legislative act permitting ERT’s immediate closure to be scrapped. They said they agreed that reforms are necessary but that it should be done while ERT is still broadcasting. In their remarks the two coalition partners fall short of threatening to pull out of coalition. Kouvelis said “The government can carry on and complete its work if it can secure some common ground.”

Sources close to the prime minister insisted he has no intention of triggering early elections. At the same time, though, it is not clear what kind of compromise could be found, writes Kathimerini. Antonis Samaras appears far from willing to compromise. He said yesterday he said that the closing down of ERT was justified because it had become “the symbol of waste and lack of transparency.”

In the meantime the government presented a draft law for the new public broadcaster it wants to set up, under the name of NERIT. As opposed to more than 2,600 staff employed by ERT, the new service would have close to 1,000 employees and would cost €100m to run compared to the €300m ERT absorbed.

Some ERT journalists occupied the broadcaster's building in defiance of government orders and continued broadcasting over the Internet. Trade unions threaten open end strike actions while thousands of protesters gathered in front of the ERT building.

The European Commission said it did not seek ERT's closure under the bailout but did not question the decision, Reuters reports. France's Socialist government voiced outright condemnation, calling it "very worrying and regrettable". Opposition leader Alexis Tsipras called it "a coup, not only against ERT workers but against the Greek people", and accused Samaras of the "historic responsibility of gagging state TV".The far-right Golden Dawn party was the only one that openly welcomed the closure, with lawmaker Ilias Panagiotaros tweeting: "ERT, that Socialist-Communist shack, is finally closing."

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