Coalition blames specific ministers for recent slip-ups

There was an attempt on Friday by the government to single out particular ministers for the recent lapses in communication within the three-party administration with the aim of protecting the coalition in general and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in particular from criticism.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou laid the blame for two embarrassing climb-downs this week at the feet of the ministers involved. On Thursday, the coalition was forced to withdraw within minutes an amendment that would have prevented public sector contract workers from receiving state salaries while they appealed decisions to terminate their employment. Kedikoglou said the volte-face was caused by Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis failing to communicate with Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis.

“When you are dealing with changes to legislation, the justice minister has to have a say in the way the new law is formulated,” Kedikoglou told Skai Radio. “As has become evident, it did not happen in this case.”

He also suggested Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis was responsible for aborted plans to reduce pensions for new self-employeed retirees by 35 percent.

The Manitakis-Roupakiotis dispute is of pressing concern for the government. Despite the fact both academics were appointed to the Cabinet last June by junior coalition partner Democratic Left, there has been plenty of friction between the pair. Tension heightened on Friday when Roupakiotis spoke out publicly against the administrative reform minister.

“Before they created this monstrosity, they should have contacted the justice minister,” he said, adding that the legislation would have consequences for private sector employees as it would hamper their efforts to appeal against unfair dismissals.

Despite the recent turbulence caused within the coalition, it is expected that a multi-bill containing reforms agreed with the troika will enjoy the entire government’s approval this weekend. The legislation was submitted on Friday and will be voted on on Sunday.

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