- Associated Press - Thursday, November 1, 2012

ATHENS (AP) — A government deputy in Greece has declared himself an independent, the latest sign of growing dissent in the coalition government ahead of a key vote next week on another round of austerity measures.

Socialist Deputy Michalis Kassis quit his party Thursday ahead of the vote for 13.5 billion euros ($17.5 billion) in additional spending cuts and tax increases over two years. The country’s international creditors have insisted on the package in return for the continued payment of vital bailout loans that Greece needs to avoid going bankrupt.

Greece‘s conservative-led coalition government has shown increasing signs of fracture recently. The Democratic Left, a junior member of the government, has promised to vote against the austerity measures if they include provisions to ax labor rights. The three-party coalition was formed after June elections.

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