Coalition members quit over Greece austerity plan

Now Reading:

Coalition members quit over Greece austerity plan

Text size Aa Aa

As Greeks took to the streets on Friday to show their anger at austerity measures, several politicians also walked off the job.

The industrial action is the first day of a 48 hour general strike organised in response to the deal struck to get the 130 billion euro bailout loan.

Six coalition members have handed in their resignation, including George Karatzaferis of the far right LAOS party.

The party said it will not vote for the package, which includes reducing the minimum wage and pensions and cutting public sector jobs.

Another high-ranking coalition member to step down was Secretary of State for Greek Foreign Affairs, Marilisa Xenogiannakopoulou, who is in the leftwing PASOK party led by former prime minister George Papandreou.

Ordinary Greeks will possibly be even more incensed now the original austerity plan has been rejected by the troika of IMF and EU negotiators who want harsher cuts.

“A worker won’t be able to live off the salaries mandated by the new measures. A large number will be pushed into unemployment. A working person will not be able to manage to get by,” one protester said.

Highlighting the way the coalition government is stuck between a rock and a hard place, one newspaper headline read ‘Difficult terms from abroad, political theatrics at home’.

Athens resident Olga did not think the deal would be good in the long-term: “For me the agreement is unacceptable. Primarily it give us no hope. If there was a plan that secured something better for us after some time, and not a delay of the default, we would be more satisfied despite the deprivations.”

With the raft of protests that have been happening in Greece, the clean-up operation appears to be very efficient. Their services could be more in demand if the government makes the extra 325 million euros worth of cuts the troika is asking for, triggering more protests.