Tags: greece | polls | samara | loses

Greece Moves Closer to Polls as Samaras Loses Vote

Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 07:10 AM

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras failed to win enough backing today for his nominee for president, bringing Greece a step closer to early elections.

In the second of three attempts, 168 lawmakers in Greece’s 300-seat chamber voted for Samaras’s nominee, Stavros Dimas, short of the required 200 ballots. Samaras’s calls for consensus during the weekend didn’t lure enough opposition lawmakers to add to his coalition’s 155 votes.

Attention now turns to the final attempt on Dec. 29, when Samaras needs a narrower majority of 180 votes to elect Dimas. Failure will dissolve parliament and lead to early elections. The prospect of an early vote has spooked markets, evoking memories of the financial crisis in 2012 when Greek’s euro membership was in jeopardy. Polls showed anti-austerity opposition party Syriza ahead of Samaras’s New Democracy.

“There are about five more lawmakers that could vote Dimas in the final vote on Dec. 29,” said Aristides Hatzis, an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens. The government could gather “a maximum of 175 votes” in the next vote, but will have great difficulty “if it insists on Dimas’s candidacy,” Hatzis said in a phone interview after the vote today.

Greek bonds fell, with the yield on three-year notes rising 31 basis points to 9.9 percent as of 12:42 p.m. in Athens. The 10-year benchmark yield rose 9 basis points to 8.4 percent. The Athens Stock Exchange index fell 1.7 percent.

Appeasement Effort

The Greek premier sought to win over opposition lawmakers by offering in a national TV address on Dec. 21 to broaden his coalition government and hold elections at the end of 2015.

“We must end political uncertainty,” he said. “Greece must move forward to the next day and we can’t end one period of uncertainty to immediately pass into another.”

Samaras’s pledges for a wider coalition and elections being held almost six months earlier than set by the country’s constitution found eight supporters from among independent lawmakers today. His best chance to avert early elections now lies in the final vote.

Samaras gambled on bringing forward the vote for the mainly ceremonial post of president. His decision came when negotiations with Greece’s official creditors stalled as he tried to broker an exit from the country’s 240 billion-euro ($300 billion) bailout program.

Officials from the euro area and the International Monetary Fund are expected to return to Athens for more talks early next year, Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis said on Dec. 15.


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Prime Minister Antonis Samaras failed to win enough backing today for his nominee for president, bringing Greece a step closer to early elections. In the second of three attempts, 168 lawmakers in Greece's 300-seat chamber voted for Samaras's nominee, Stavros Dimas, short...
greece, polls, samara, loses
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2014-10-23
Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 07:10 AM
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