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live Greece has failed to elect a president in the second round

23 December 2014 / 13:12:44  GRReporter
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Greece's parliament has failed to appoint the president of the country during the second vote, as the nomination of Stavros Dimas has been unable to obtain 200 votes in his favour. Therefore, the date of the third round of presidential elections, 29 December, seems to be decisive for Greece’s future.

Unlike the first round, when 160 MPs had voted "for" Stavros Dimas, today he was supported by 168 MPs. 131 MPs voted "against" and only one MP was absent.

The eight additional votes belonged to independent MPs, the majority of them being former members of the parliamentary group of Independent Greeks. In addition, two former members of Golden Dawn, Efstathios Boukouras and Chrisovalandis Alexopoulos, voted "for" Stavros Dimas.

The second vote led to changes in the composition of parliament. Shortly before the vote, Democratic Left MP Niki Founda said that she was leaving the party parliamentary group and would be in parliament as an independent MP from that moment on. At the same time, and despite the expectations, she did not support the candidacy of Stavros Dimas. Because of her decision, Democratic Left now has fewer than 10 members and under the rules of the Greek parliament, it is no longer a parliamentary group.

The third round of presidential elections will be held on 29 December, when 180 MPs must vote "for" Stavros Dimas. In the event that this does not happen, early elections will be announced that will have to take place within one month.

"Despite our differences, despite the intimidation and mud on the part of Kamenos and Tsipras, today the number of MPs who voted for Stavros Dimas increased. I hope to avoid in the third round the danger that is threatening Greece... It will face every MP with the concerns of the Greek people and the national interest. Everyone will assume responsibility for their vote to stability, normality and the future of our country," Prime Minister Antonis Samaras stated immediately after the vote.

In turn, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras did not hide his satisfaction with the result and said, "Neither parliament nor the people will give Samaras a blank cheque to continue with the policy of memoranda. In the New Year, the country will turn the page. We will succeed with optimism and with the people’s firm order for real negotiations."

According to sources, the feeling in parliament is that the probability of Greece having a president after the third vote on 29 December is small but real. That is the assessment of the MPs from the ruling New Democracy-PASOK coalition, the leaders of which, Samaras and Venizelos, will meet later today to discuss the results of the vote. Politicians and analysts agree that the pressure on the hesitant MPs will significantly increase over the next days and on the coming Monday morning in particular.

Meanwhile, SYRIZA hastened to comment on the fact that two of the positive votes today belonged to former members of Golden Dawn and that the government relied on "the support of the fascists to continue to rule." In response, representatives of the coalition government recalled that the 16 members that make up the parliamentary group of Golden Dawn voted against the nomination of Stavros Dimas along with SYRIZA.

Tags: PoliticsPresidential electionsSecond round ParliamentDeputiesStavros DimansIndependent deputies
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