Greek MP alleges bribe offer for vote

Politician claims he was offered at least $2.5m to vote in favour of government's presidential candidate.

    A Greek politician says he has been offered a bribe to vote for the government's choice of president in order to avoid snap elections.

    Pavlos Haikalis, an actor and member of the small Independent Greeks party, claimed during a phone-in television programme on Friday that he was offered an $850,000 bribe in cash, a loan repayment and advertising contracts - in total $2.5-3.7m.

    "I was approached by a man...who plays an active role in politics," Haikalis said.

    He did not identify the person, but said he had informed a prosecutor about two weeks ago and had turned over audio and video material.

    It was the second such claim from the Independent Greeks. Another of the party's lawmakers claimed last month that someone had approached her with the intention of bribing her.

    Government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi dismissed the allegations as "badly acted theater."

    "It is obvious why these ridiculous performances are set up: so that a president of the republic is not voted for, and the country is led to early elections," Voultepsi said.

    Greece faces early general elections if its 300-member parliament fails to elect a president by the third round of voting on December 29.

    In Wednesday's first round, the sole candidate and government nominee, Stavros Dimas, garnered 160 votes;180 are needed for election.

    "The ruling coalition of socialists and conservatives is trying to attract 25 MPs from the opposition to elect a new president," John Psaropoulos, reporting from Athens, said. "It has so far won over just five, and time is running out."

    Opinion polls suggest that the radical leftist Syriza party would win an early election.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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