World Bulletin / News Desk
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has expelled one of his deputies for threatening to vote against the latest package of austerity measures demanded by international lenders, the government said on Monday.
Greece is finalising a package of spending cuts worth 11.5 billion euros for 2013 and 2014, which must be ratified by parliament before it can secure its next tranche of aid from the EU and IMF to avoid bankruptcy.
Nikos Stavrogiannis was dismissed from the New Democracy parliamentary group after saying he would vote against the measures, which include a new wave of cuts to wages and pensions, because they were "unfair, harsh and ineffective".
"My conscience does not allow me to vote for measures that devastate the weakest members of society," Stavrogiannis told the Real News newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.
The expulsion of Stavrogiannis, who remains in parliament as as an independent, underscores Samaras's hard line on deputies publicly undermining his pledge to push through the cuts to restore Greece's credibility among lenders.
"Obviously we do not see eye to eye with Mr Stavrogiannis," the government's spokesman, Simos Kedikoglou, told Greek television on Monday, confirming the expulsion.
"The vast majority of us have realised that there is an imperative national duty that we must serve, that we must put the national interest above everything else."
Stavrogiannis's dismissal reduces the three-party coalition's backing to 177 seats in the 300-member parliament, still comfortably above the 151-seat majority needed for the measures to pass.
Stavrogiannis is the first New Democracy lawmaker to be kicked out for threatening to vote against the package. In July, Samaras expelled Deputy Labour Minister Nikos Nikolopoulos after he resigned his post complaining that the government was not being forceful enough in negotiations with its lenders.
EU finance for camp to alleviate conditions for migrants seeking to get to Britain
Sense of chaos has been reflected across Europe as continent struggles to respond to biggest movement of people since World War II
EU commissioner Frans Timmermans says it's against European spirit to refuse refugees
Violent clashes erupt after parliament approves president-proposed Constitutional amendments regarding decentralization of power
'The situation among internally displaced people is particularly worrying', UN aid chief says
Interior ministers of all 28 EU member states expected to meet on September 14 to discuss ways to cope with the refugee crisis
An Israeli soldier attacked a young Palestinian girl and attempted to arrest a Palestinian boy with a broken arm.
Nigerian army Colonel says armed group tarnishes image of Islam
Since the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, countless Crimean Tatar activists have been either killed or kidnapped, while those responsible have never brought to justice.
Operation Sea Breeze, a naval drill between European NATO forces will be holding drills until mid-September.
Report says White Hosue would make a decision soon after President Xi's visit to US next month
Austria is hunting for human traffickers at its eastern borders after last weeks tragedy that saw 70 refugees found dead in the back of a truck in Austria.
A new clause in the constitution will be put to public vote limiting the presidential term to a maximum of two after CAR descended into violence
Fresh battles in eastern Benghazi have claimed the life of four soldiers as government troops and opposition groups vy for control
Following three-day trial, ten convicts are executed Saturday morning by firing squad
Thousands are reportedly driven from their homes amid violent land disputes between rival clans in Kenya’s Rift Valley