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Ministers of Trade, Health Set to Resign

DIKO party members health minister Christos Patsalides and minister of trade Antonis Paschalides are set to resign in protest against the delay in implementing proposed austerity measures, said the party in a statement.

In what could prove to be DIKO's final exit from the ruling coalition with communist party AKEL, a DIKO spokesman said President Christofias and his government have not yet accepted a package of economic reforms, and that the DIKO ministers would make their resignations available. Party president Marios Garoyian is expecting Christofias' acceptance of the proposals, but said that time was running out.

"We note with great concern that (economic) conditions deteriorate dramatically with each passing day," said the party in a statement.

sarkozy christofiasPresident Christofias is on a state visit to France and is expected back later today. In his absence, the calls for his own resignation have not abated.

Two ministers have already resigned over the disaster at Evangelos Florakis naval base, which has added considerably to the island's economic crisis. Constant power cuts are expected to reduce economic growth, and today Moody's rating agency said it expects zero growth in the economy for 2011. Meanwhile, damage from the explosion to Vasiliko power station has been estimated at around 700 million euros.

Eight people have been suspended in connection with the explosion at the naval base, reported, citing leaked documents in an ongoing investigation into the blast. They include resigned army chief Petros Tsalikides, deputy army chief Savvas Argyros, fire service director Andreas Nikolaou, assistant fire service director Charalambos Charalambous, and the head of the rescue service EMAK.


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