ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Unemployment in Greece has climbed higher, reaching 26.8 percent in October, according to figures released Thursday, while another lawmaker abandoned the coalition government over a Swiss Bank account scandal.
The Statistical Authority said unemployment increased from the 26.2 percent in September 2012, and marked a significant jump from the 19.7 percent of October 2011.
Young Greeks are the worst affected, with 56.6 percent of those aged between 15 and 24 out of work.
Greece has been struggling through a severe financial crisis since late 2009, and has been dependent on international rescue loans since May 2010. In return, the government has imposed strict austerity measures that have slashed salaries, increased taxes and plunged the country into a recession. Tens of thousands of businesses have shut down.
On Thursday, meanwhile, Socialist lawmaker Christos Aidonis quit the seven-month-old coalition government and declared himself an independent, protesting at the lack of action taken to investigate people on a list of Greeks with Swiss banks accounts for potential tax fraud.
His action reduces the number of lawmakers backing the government in the 300-member parliament to 163. It also means that continued support from all three parties in the coalition — the conservative New Democracy, Socialist PASOK and Democratic Left — is now required to keep the government afloat.
Former Socialist Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou is facing a parliamentary investigation into his handling of the list of 2,000 Greeks who held accounts at HSBC bank in Switzerland until 2007. The list was drawn from data on 24,000 customers reportedly stolen from the bank.
Prosecutors said the names of three of Papaconstantinou's relatives had been illegally removed from the list of Greek account holders.
- Politics & Government
- Budget, Tax & Economy
- coalition government
- Swiss Bank account