Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras faced a double challenge on Monday from coalition partners furious over the shutdown of state broadcaster ERT and a court hearing that could put the shuttered station back on air.
ERT's abrupt closure last week in the name of austerity to please EU and IMF lenders triggered a deep rift in the ruling coalition, throwing the debt-choked nation back into turmoil just as faint hopes of a recovery had begun to sprout.
Exactly a year after a general election brought Samaras and his two leftist allies to power, the three parties have fed fears of hugely disruptive snap polls by refusing to compromise over an entity widely unloved until its shock overnight closure.
"It's clear that over the last days any semblance of logic in dealing with this issue has been lost," said Costas Panagopoulos, head of ALCO pollsters.
"The most absurd thing is that we are talking about a possible destruction of the country over ERT."
The centre left daily Ethnos screamed on its front page: "Find a solution!"
Aware that his allies stand to lose heavily in any election, the conservative Samaras has refused in flurry of speeches to turn the "sinful" ERT back on, vowing to fight to modernise a country he says had become a "Jurassic Park" of inefficiency and corruption.
His PASOK and Democratic Left allies, aware that they risk humiliation and the loss of any future say in the coalition, rejected Samaras's offer of a limited restart of broadcasts. The three party leaders are to meet at 1630 GMT to seek a solution.
"It's impossible to say how far they will go because all logic has gone out the window," said Panagopoulos. "Normally, you would expect they would not be willing to throw everything up in the air over this decision. Greece has gone back to where it was a year ago in terms of political instability over ERT."