Second Greek coalition partner rebuffs PM offer on state broadcaster

ATHENS, June 15 Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:03am EDT

ATHENS, June 15 (Reuters) - Both junior partners in Greece's fragile coalition government have turned down a compromise proposal by the prime minister to avert a government crisis over the shutdown of public broadcaster ERT.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras offered on Friday to rehire a smaller number of staff to resume news broadcasts, in an attempt to defuse an outcry over Monday's shock closure of ERT - part of savings under the terms of Greece's international bailout.

If no compromise is reached, the government might fall and new elections would be called, meaning almost certain derailment of the country's bailout programme.

"Our position remains the same. Any restructuring of ERT has to take place with the broadcaster open, as it was before," Andreas Papadopoulos, spokesman of the Democratic Left party, told Reuters on Saturday.

The proposal was also dismissed as inadequate late on Friday by the Socialist PASOK party, which is demanding the immediate reopening of ERT's television and radio stations.

The three coalition partners are expected to meet on Monday evening to try to reach an agreement over ERT.

Papadopoulos said Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis would propose the immediate reopening of ERT and the creation of a committee to plan a restructuring within three months.

The government has always said the shutdown was temporary and that ERT would be relaunched as soon as possible in a downsized and more efficient form.

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