Shares on the Athens Stock Exchange suffered more heavy losses Thursday, as the governing coalition appeared short of the support needed to stop the government collapsing in a parliamentary vote this month. Retreating for a third day, shares closed down nearly 7.5 percent, taking this week’s cumulative losses to around 20 percent. Meanwhile the yield on Greece’s 10-year-bond jumped to nearly 9 percent, way above levels thought as sustainable. Even though Greece has recently emerged from its brutal six-year recession and has made big strides to get its public finances into shape, the country has been thrown back into uncertainty following the decision earlier this week by conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to call an early vote in parliament to elect a new president. To get his preferred candidate — Stavros Dimas, a former commissioner at the European Union — elected, Samaras will require support from opposition lawmakers in the 300-member parliament.
Under a complicated electoral system that seeks to generate a cross-party consensus, any new president has to have the support of at least 180 lawmakers in a third round of voting. Voting is due to start on Dec. 17 and can last up to 3 rounds that end on Dec. 29. In the first two rounds, a president has to get 200 votes. The government has 155 seats in the 300-member parliament.
“The way things look today, at the moment, we do not have the numbers. I don’t know what will happen in the end, and how each lawmaker will consider his national duty,” Gerasimos Giakoumatos, a deputy development minister, told Real FM radio.