Greek PM still short in second round presidential vote

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2014 5:54 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek lawmakers failed to reach the majority to elect a new president in a second round of voting on Tuesday, leaving Prime Minister Antonis Samaras needing another 12 votes in the final round next week to avert the threat of a snap general election.

Samaras' nominee Stavros Dimas, the only candidate in the race, had not been expected to win the second round but his score of 168 votes was broadly in line with expectations, leaving the result of the decisive third round on Dec. 29, when he will need 180 votes, finely balanced.

There were 131 blank votes, which count against the candidate, and one absentee.

Parliament must elect a president or a general election would have to be held by early February, potentially bringing in the leftwing Syriza party which wants to renegotiate Greece's international bailout and roll back the austerity policies of recent years.

The second round vote followed an offer by Samaras at the weekend to bring pro-European independents into his government and hold early elections late next year if Dimas is elected.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Lefteris Papadimas; Writing by James Mackenzie)