World News

Greek deputy quits ruling coalition party

ATHENS (Reuters) - A Greek lawmaker resigned from the Socialist PASOK party on Thursday, further reducing the ruling three-party coalition’s parliamentary majority after it expelled seven other deputies.

Mimis Androulakis, an MP with the coalition’s junior partner, said he would become independent and would vote against the 2013 austerity budget on Sunday.

“My opposition to the budget is fundamental,” Androulakis told radio station Vima FM.

The budget plan has 9.4 billion euros of spending cuts and additional taxes, delivering the bulk of a total 13.5 billion euros in austerity measures which Greece’s international lenders are demanding Athens take in the next two years.

Earlier on Thursday, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos ejected six deputies for failing to back an austerity and labour reform law aimed at unlocking aid the country needs to avoid bankruptcy. The coalition’s main party New Democracy also expelled one deputy for failing to back the government.

Androulakis had supported the coalition in an extremely tight vote on the labour law overnight. His departure reduces the three-party coalition’s majority to 18 of the assembly’s 300 seats.

Reporting by Harry Papachristou; editing by Patrick Graham