Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has announced that early elections will take place on January 25, 2015
The news comes after lawmakers in Athens failed to elect a new president on Monday, leaving the country faced with the prospect of going to the polls in an election that has the potential to derail Greece’s international bailout program.
Former European Commissioner Stavros Dimas, the only candidate in the presidential race, fell short of the 180 votes needed to become president.
With an election called, the financial markets and Greece’s EU partners will be facing weeks of uncertainty, which has the potential to undermine the fragile signs of recovery and derail public finances.
Opinion polls are led by the left-wing Syriza Party, which wants to tear up Greece’s bailout agreement with the EU and the IMF and wipe off a large part of the country’s debt.
Greek bond yields jumped above nine percent while the stock market index fell 10.7 percent.
Samaras had been hoping the presidential vote would end the uncertainty hanging over his ruling coalition. He had urged lawmakers to elect Dimas to succeed the 85-year-old head of state Karolos Papoulias and allow the final round of bailout negotiations to be completed.