NEWS

ND expels rebel MP for gibes on Twitter

As dissent grows within socialist PASOK, conservative New Democracy which leads the country?s shaky coalition sought to repress upheaval in its own ranks on Friday, expelling maverick lawmaker Nikos Nikolopoulos from its parliamentary group over a posting on his Twitter account accusing the government of giving up in its bid to renegotiate Greece?s debt deal with foreign creditors.

Nikolopoulos, who resigned as deputy labor minister last month after slamming the government for not being bold enough opposite envoys representing international creditors, was equally outspoken in his Twitter posting. ?The strategic impasse is clear. The flag of renegotiation was a dream, we have forgotten it. What can the people expect now? Leniency from the troika or punishment?? he tweeted. In a separate posting, Nikolopoulos, a lawmaker representing ND in Achaia in the Peloponnese, said: ?A recession worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records. Our country has been in recession for more years in a row than any other. It cannot take anymore.?

Sources close to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said that since Nikolopoulos resigned from his post, he has been trying to get himself thrown out of the party.

The MP?s expulsion reduces ND?s seats to 128 but does not threaten the majority of the coalition in the 300-seat parliament, which now stands at 178.

Rumblings continued on Friday in PASOK after party leader Evangelos Venizelos clashed vehemently with ex-minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, who criticized the former finance minister for his reluctance to back government proposals for 11.5 billion euros in budget cuts. Sources close to Venizelos defended his stance, noting that there was no reason PASOK should shoulder the political burden for the premier?s choices.