Kouvelis faced with backlash from MPs

The Greek government?s junior coalition partner, Democratic Left (DIMAR), and its leader, Fotis Kouvelis, came under intense pressure on Thursday as one of the leftist party?s MPs said he was setting up a movement to oppose the austerity measures Athens is set to agree with the troika.

Yiannis Micheloyiannakis, a deputy from Crete, is one of three DIMAR lawmakers who has said he would vote against the measures when they come to Parliament. He suggested, however, that the opposition within the party could be even greater.

?DIMAR is divided,? he sai. ?Within the next few days three MPs, 18 members of the central committee and 23 members of local organizations will hold a congress as a movement to explain our positions.?

Democratic Left, which has 17 deputies, campaigned on a platform of opposing deep cuts to pensions and salaries and insisting these could be replaced with equivalent measures involving savings produced by public sector reforms.

Emerging from Thursday?s coalition leaders? meeting, Kouvelis attacked the troika for not recognizing the limits of Greek society. Sources said that his position is intended to rebuff criticism from leftist SYRIZA that he has not provided any resistance to the cuts and to convince his own party?s MPs that he is trying to stick to the party?s pledges.

Kouvelis is said to have expressed to the other two coalition leaders his opposition to raising the retirement age to 67, cuts to low pensions and reductions to civil servants? pay.

In a vote in Parliament on Thursday relating to the development of ports, 15 DIMAR lawmakers abstained and two, including Micheloyiannis, voted against it. The law passed with 151 votes in favor.

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