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The Greek parliament is to elect a new president on 17 December

09 December 2014 / 13:12:16  GRReporter
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Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced their decision to speed up the election of Greece’s new president. The announcement was disseminated minutes after it became clear that the Eurogroup finance ministers had decided to extend the rescue programme for Greece by two months after its expiry at the end of the year.

The government thus aims to put an end to the political instability in the country. The first vote in parliament will take place on 17 December. If it fails, the Constitution provides for another two rounds, which will take place within 5 days, i.e. on 23 and 29 December. In order for the President to be elected, 200 deputies must support the nomination in the first two votes and 180 in the third.
 
Antonis Samaras expressed in statements his belief that the majority required to elect Greece’s new president is existent in the current parliament. However, if the three votes fail Greece will announce early elections, the most probable dates for their implementation being 25 January and 1 February. Accounting for the fact that the Eurogroup has extended the term of the memorandum until the end of February, the final negotiations on the supervisory Troika’s assessment of the state of the economy will be carried out by a government that has regained its credibility through the presidential elections in parliament or by a government elected by the new vote of the electorate.

According to the Greek media, Samaras and Venizelos had considered speeding up the presidential elections 10 days earlier. They accepted the refusal of the creditors’ representatives to complete the evaluation of the state of the economy as unwillingness to conclude the contract on the granting of the last bailout instalment in an atmosphere of political instability and of probable early elections.

Sources state that Samaras and Venizelos had made the decision on Sunday midnight, after the vote on the country's budget for next year. The government partners notified President Karolos Papoulias and Greece's creditors of their intention in order to secure the short two-month extension of the rescue programme instead of the proposed six-month one. According to sources, during these talks, German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble had hinted that he would accept the extension of the rescue programme by two months if Greece sped up the processes relating to the suspension of political instability.

It is expected that Prime Minister Samaras will make official statements by the end of the day, after his next meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos. The two of them have focused their efforts on securing 180 votes in favour of the government candidate for president. The Prime Minister is to engage in personal meetings with independent MPs, whose position will play a key role in the outcome of the political confrontation.

The fact that the government has not yet announced the name of its nominee has provoked forecasts and scenarios about the potential candidates for the presidency. The persons who are discussed in the public domain include former caretaker Prime Minister and former Chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court Panagiotis Pikrammenos, former Greek EU Commissioners Stavros Dimas and Maria Damanaki, former European Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros, Public Law Professor and President of the European Court Vassilios Skouris and business representatives.

Antonis Samaras met with Stavros Dimas in the government residence Maximou on Tuesday morning and, according to sources, during the conversation he had offered him to be the candidate for president supported by the government. So far, however, the information has not been officially confirmed and the name of the government nominee will be announced after the meeting between Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos later today.

Tags: PoliticsExtension of the rescue programme for GreecePresidential electionsEarly elections
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