Coalition partners lash out at troika

The two junior partners in the coalition government Tuesday condemned the tough stance held by the troika in negotiations with government officials, with Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis stating outright that his party would not vote for the envoys? proposed changes to labor laws.

?The troika?s demands are not structural reforms. They are aimed at razing Greek society, fueling the recession and increasing unemployment,? Kouvelis said. He added that the troika?s insistence on tough changes to labor laws ?surpass the ability of Greeks to cope.? According to sources, Kouvelis had been prepared to approve all the measures in a 13.5-billion-euro austerity package but objected to the troika?s proposals for the immediate dismissal of 3,000 civil servants.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos meanwhile accused the troika of intentionally delaying negotiations, claiming that foreign creditors were ?playing with fire, for Greece and for the eurozone as a whole.?

Venizelos stressed that he would support the government but that ?this must really be the last package? and not include ?horizontal cuts.?

The Socialist chief called on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to seek to bypass the troika envoys and negotiate directly with his eurozone peers and the heads of Greece?s foreign creditors, including International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

Sources close to Venizelos stressed Tuesday that negotiations on the package of measures should not have been launched before a decision on Greece?s request for a two-year extension for fiscal adjustment and the resolution of the problem of how to reduce the country?s huge debt burden.