Greek MPs fail in second try to elect president
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras votes during the second of three rounds of a presidential vote at the Greek parliament in Athens December 23, 2014. REUTERS PhotoGreek MPs failed on Dec. 23 to elect a president in a second vote in parliament, bringing an early general election, feared by financial markets and the country's EU-IMF creditors, a step closer.
The government candidate, EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, fell 32 votes short of the required 200 votes, meaning a third and final vote will be held on December 29.
"The required majority has not been met, therefore the vote will be repeated for a third time," parliament speaker Evangelos Meimarakis told the chamber.
Failure to elect a president in the third vote will automatically spark early elections in Greece, the second in less than two years, a prospect that could reverse fiscal reforms.
The Greek stock exchange opened with a drop on Tuesday, losing over 2.0 percent at the time of the vote.
In a bid to sway independent MPs, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Sunday offered to hold early elections in late 2015, provided that a president is elected and that tough talks with the country's EU-IMF creditors are concluded first.
European Union and International Monetary Fund officials fear an early election -- which could be held as soon as January 25 -- would be won by radical leftist party Syriza and would undo Greece's ongoing fiscal reforms.
The presidential vote has been tainted by allegations from a small nationalist party that people close to the government were trying to bribe its lawmakers into voting for Dimas.