Coalition partners refuse to back PM’s plan to shut down broadcaster ERT

New Democracy’s coalition partners made a bid on Wednesday to halt plans for public broadcaster ERT to be shut down and be replaced with a leaner version in a few months time.

PASOK and Democratic Left submitted to Parliament on Wednesday a draft law that aims to cancel the legislative act published in the Government Gazette earlier this week that allows public enterprises, like ERT, to be closed.

The junior coalition partners oppose the plan to fire some 2,700 ERT employees and open at the end of August a new broadcaster with less than half this amount of staff.

PASOK and Democratic Left also feel that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras did not consult properly with them. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis were due to meet on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the matter.

Earlier, PASOK issued a statement saying that Samaras had raised the possibility of closing down ERT during a meeting with Kouvelis and Venizelos on Sunday. Samaras, PASOK, claimed said this was the only way Greece would meet its commitment to the troika to fire 2,000 civil servants this summer so it could qualify for more bailout loans.

PASOK claims that Kouvelis and Venizelos voiced their objections. The legislative act has not been signed by any of their ministers.

Sources at Democratic Left told Kathimerini that if the government collapses as a result of ERT’s closure, it would be Samaras’s fault.

A failure to agree on shutting down ERT would leave the coalition in a precarious position and the possibility of snap elections could not be ruled out.