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Greek MPs in final attempt to pick a new president and avert snap election

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By Euronews
Greek MPs in final attempt to pick a new president and avert snap election

Greek members of parliament vote on Monday for a final time to elect a new president and head off a snap general election the prime minister warns would be against the national interest.

The ruling party’s candidate failed to secure the necessary two-thirds majority in the first two rounds.

An election must be held if a new president can’t be appointed.

“Many lawmakers are concerned about what will happen to the country if we enter a long period of political instability, so I’m optimistic that opposition members will do their duty and support the government despite what they have been saying,” said ruling coalition MP Adonis Georgiadis from the New Democracy party.

Recent polls suggest the ruling coalition trails the left-wing Syriza party which wants to renegotiate Greece’s international bailout and roll back austerity measures.

“We feel that a general election is the only democratic way out. The Greek people may either continue to send the country on the path of the current catastrophic policies or they will pave the way for a different policy focused on a growth plan for productive reconstruction,” said Syriza MP Dimitris Stratoulis.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said what he called Syriza’s “easy promises” had led the country to the edge of a cliff two-and-a-half years ago.

Germany has warned that Greece will have to respect existing commitments.

There are signs the warnings may fall on deaf ears.

Euronews correspondent in Athens Stamatis Giannisis said:
“With the government’s intense efforts to convince more non-coalition MPs to vote for its presidential candidate apparently failing, Greece seems to be heading to the national polls by the end of January or the beginning of February.”