ATHENS, June 20 Greece's coalition leaders
failed to agree to on how to resume state television broadcasts
during their third round of talks this week, deepening a
nine-day impasse that has renewed fears of political instability
in the country.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had appeared close to a
compromise earlier this week with his two leftist coalition
partners over the sudden closure of the ERT state broadcaster,
until the three-party talks collapsed again on Thursday.
The leader of the smallest party in the coalition, Fotis
Kouvelis of the Democratic Left, attacked Samaras for failing to
comply with a court ruling ordering ERT back on air and
rejecting his proposal for a reformed broadcaster.
"No common ground was reached at the political leaders'
meeting with regards to the issue of ERT," Kouvelis said.
Democratic Left party officials were due to meet on Friday
morning to discuss their stance on the issue, officials said.
The leader of the other junior coalition partner, Evangelos
Venizelos, warned the country's ruling coalition was in trouble
and called on Kouvelis to stay in the government.
"The situation for the country, the economy and its citizens
is especially grave," said Venizelos, who heads PASOK, the
second-biggest party in the government.
"We want the government to continue as a three-party
government and we are asking Democratic Left to participate in
Centre-right leader Samaras has ruled in fragile coalition
with the two centre-left parties since coming to power a year
ago. The latest crisis was sparked by Samaras abruptly yanking
ERT off air last week, triggering an outcry from his allies,
unions and journalists.
ERT remains off air despite a court ruling on Monday
ordering it back on. Samaras wants a transitional broadcaster
run by only a few staff that will air a few ready-made
programmes while his allies want ERT to reopen exactly as it was
before until the smaller version is launched.
Venizelos said Samaras had accepted a proposal to resume
public broadcasts and re-hire about 2,000 workers, but that the
junior partners were not satisfied.
"There have been steps to repair this but we are not fully
satisfied," he said.