Early Vote for Greek President by Parliament – could bring on early national elections

samarasPrime minister Antonis Samaras has called a snap presidential election by parliament in a high-stakes bid to retain power despite his failure to end Greece’s punishing €245bn international bailout, reports the Financial Times

Mr Samaras brought forward the presidential vote by two months after eurozone finance ministers concluded Greece had not completed all the reforms necessary to to obtain its last bailout payment that would bring the four-year rescue to a close.

The presidential contest — a vote by members of parliament to replace incumbent Karolos Papoulias — had been due in February, but the first round will now take place on December 17, with further polls on December 23 and 29.

Mr Samaras must find 180 votes in parliament to elect a new president but his governing coalition has only 155 MPs. If he is unable to find another 25 votes from a patchwork of independents and MPs from smaller parties, he must call a snap general election. Public opinion polls show he would lose to the SYRIZA opposition party.

A government spokesman said the decision was taken to “prevent the opposition from undermining Greece’s economy and directing messages of political uncertainty to financial markets”.

Syriza predicted that the government would fail to elect a new president, saying the snap poll was a decision “agreed with the ‘troika’ [of international bailout monitors, the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the IMF], covering up their plans to introduce new austerity measures and blackmail MPs into voting for them”.

See Financial Times article here

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