Greece parliament fails to elect president

Parliament fails for third time to elect a president forcing early elections in the coming weeks.

    Greece's parliament has failed to elect a new president for the country in a third and final round of voting, forcing an early general elections.

    Stavros Dimas, former European commisioner and the coalition government's candidate for the post, fell short of the 180 votes of parliament's 300 seats needed to win on Monday.

    "I think I expected the result. I remain calm, as ever," said Dimas. 

    Shortly after the vote, Antonis Samaras, Greek prime minister, said the country would hold the polls on January 25.

    Some fear the elections could endanger the debt-ridden country's international bailout as opinion polls have consistently shown the left-wing main opposition Syriza party ahead. The party opposes the terms of the bailout deals which kept Greece from defaulting on its debts.

    Syriza has pledged to roll back some of the reforms implemented in order for the country to qualify for billions of euros in rescue funds from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - although it has recently somewhat softened its rhetoric about unilaterally pulling out of the bailout deal.

    Greece recently secured a two-month extension from its EU-IMF creditors to conclude an ongoing fiscal audit that will determine the release of about $8.6bn in loans. This extension expires in February.

    Investors reacted badly to parliament's vote, with the Athens stock exchange's benchmark general index down 10.8 percent in midday trading minutes after the vote.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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