May 23, 2013
Greek deputy minister resigns over bailout stance
The resignation is a new setback for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose government had already stumbled to a rocky start when his initial pick for finance minister stepped down over health problems.
"The sole reason for my resignation is my personal conviction that the issue of renegotiating with the troika, as well as the correction of significant distortions in labour, pension, social security and welfare issues, should have been emphatically put on the table from the start," Nikos Nikolopoulos wrote in his resignation letter.
Nikolopoulos's resignation came hours after Samaras won a confidence vote in parliament and pledged to win back the trust of foreign lenders by pushing ahead on privatisations and long-discussed structural reforms. All 179 deputies from the three-party coalition, including Nikolopoulos, backed the motion in the 300-seat parliament.
Samaras's government immediately named a replacement for Nikolopoulos, and said it was baffled by the resignation.
"There is no reasonable explanation for this," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told reporters.
"The negotiation with the troika has not started yet and only yesterday he voted in favour of the government. Not everyone is cut out for tough times."