On Tuesday Greek financial markets plunged nearly 13 percent and the yield on Greece’s 10 year bond spiked to over 8 percent, a level that is considered unsustainable, after Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras named former European Commissioner Stavros Dimas as his coalition’s candidate for president and searched to get the 180 votes needed to endorse Dimas and avoid snap general elections that could lead to a unexpected change in leadership and far leftist SYRIZA Party taking power.
According to Greece’s constitution, to become Greece’s president, a candidate needs to be elected by at least 180 members of the 300-seat parliament.
Wednesday December 17th will be the first day of parliamentary voting but the prospects look dim for the coalition to get the necessary votes on that date or during a second round of voting held on December 23rd.
The final decision is not expected to be reached until December 29th when 180 votes are required for a new candidate to be approved.
If 180 votes are not secured for a candidate to be approved, snap elections will be called and likely occur later in January.
Prime Minister Samaras’s New Democracy Party barely defeated Syriza during the June 2012 elections.
Recent polls show that far leftist SYRIZA Party is currently ahead and poised to gain the majority in a new vote.
SYRIZA is opposed to accepting the bailout terms from the European Union and IMF would rather defaut on their loans than face more imposed austerity measures.
SYRIZA Party leader Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday that his party is ready to lead Greece.
“SYRIZA will provide solutions for the benefit of the people and the country,” Tsipras said before he spoke about a continued “torture of the new measures” in direct reference to bailout austerity measures.
Early on Tuesday before news spread about Samaras’ actions, euro area finance ministers agreed to provide Greece with a 2 month extension to its bailout package that has continued austerity measures.
When explaining the reason for the sudden presidential elections, Samaras’ coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos said on Tuesday that the goal was “to clear the political horizon and enable the country to marshal all its forces and all its arguments in the complex and difficult negotiation with the European partners and the IMF.”