Greek MPs hold crunch presidential vote

Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras made one last attempt over the weekend to persuade MPs to vote for presidential candidate Stavros Dimas in Monday’s final round of voting in parliament in order to avoid a snap general election.

Lone presidential candidate Dimas needs to secure 180 votes in the final round, twelve more than in last week’s second-round ballot. If he is not elected a general election will be called, most likely to be scheduled for January 25.

Samaras said in an interview with state television NERIT on Saturday that “people don’t want a general election now” and that  ”the reforms we’ve shed blood to build in the past three years could be reversed in a single day”.

“We need consensus to elect a president now […] if we manage it we will finally have pushed the country out of crisis,” Samaras added.

Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis also appealed to lawmakers to back Dimas in order for snap elections to be avoided as they will be harmful to the economy. In an interview with Greek weekly Agora, Hardouvelis said “the election of a president is the way for the atmosphere [in the economy] to return to normality.”

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(Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras. Photo: European People’s Party)