With only four days to go before Greece’s MPs begin voting for the country’s new president, it’s still far from clear how the coalition under prime minister Antonis Samaras will secure the necessary support to have its candidate elected. This it must do to prevent snap elections that would almost certainly see it lose power to a government led by the anti-memorandum Syriza party. Already a clear 25 votes short of the minimum required to elect a president, Mr Samaras earlier this week decided to take a gamble by making a surprise announcement that he was bringing the election for a new head of state forward by two months.
At the same time, he announced that a former European environment commissioner and vice-president of his conservative New Democracy party, Stavros Dimas, would be the government’s candidate for the largely ceremonial but lucrative post, which traditionally has been the preserve of male retirees from the political or judicial establishment.
The last-minute choice of Mr Dimas, a political moderate within New Democracy, is unlikely in itself to help the government garner more votes in a parliamentary contest that is being treated as a vote of confidence by the opposition parties, particularly Syriza. A number of polls published this month suggest Syriza has a six-point lead over Mr Samaras’s New Democracy.
Full Article: Greece presidential elections puts pressure on Samaras.