27th Feb 2021

Greece in last attempt to elect president

  • The Greek parliament failed twice to elect the country's next president (Photo: Kirk Siang)

The Greek parliament on Monday (29 December) will have a last attempt at electing a new president or face snap general elections that could sweep the anti-bailout far-left into power.

The candidate of the centre-right, Stavros Dimas, needs 180 votes out of the 300 MPs in the parliament to succeed.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In previous weeks, Dimas only managed to gather 168 votes, with the final round likely to be decided by a a handful of right-wing deputies.

Dimas is a former EU commissioner who is running on behalf of the centre-right coalition led by prime minister Antonis Samaras and who has the backing of the current head of the commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

If Dimas is not elected Monday noon, the parliament has to be dissolved and new general elections held by February. Markets and EU officials are spooked by the prospect of the far-left Syriza party coming into power.

Syriza is leading in opinion polls and has said it wants to erase part of Greece's crushing debt burden.

"In Europe, sentiment is changing. Everyone is getting used to the idea that Syriza will be the government and that new negotiations will begin," Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras wrote in his party newspaper on Sunday.

Samaras has sought to convince non-attached MPs to back Dimas, promising them a government reshuffle and early elections by end 2015.

He argues that early elections now would be a mistake, as the government is just negotiating with international lenders on how to exit a bailout programme.

"The Greek people don't want early elections. The Greek people understand where this adventure could lead," Samaras told Greek television.

Eurozone finance ministers extended the bailout programme by two months to give Samaras time to sort out the presidential elections and get back to the negotiating table.

Spyros Lykoudis, an independent who voted for Dimas in the second round, said he was not optimistic about the outcome on Monday.

"Unless there is a surprise, unless a party changes its stance, I don't expect parliament to elect a president [Monday] given the current circumstances," he told Reuters.

"Nothing can be ruled out, but parties are in any case preparing for election," Lykoudis added.

A poll on Saturday by the Alco institute showed Syriza still ahead with 28.3 percent compared to Samaras' New Democracy (25%), a slightly narrower lead than in previous polls.

All eyes on Greece as presidential elections begin

Greek MPs are gathering for a first attempt to choose a president, with EU officials concerned about the prospect of snap elections and a sweep to power by the far-left Syriza party.

Greek PM offers compromise on elections

Samaras has offered to bring forward parliamentary elections and include independent MPs in government in a bid to secure a majority for his presidential candidate.


The trap of spreading ideas while attacking them

Ideas that are attacked are actually being promulgated. That has been the case for centuries, at least as far back as Thomas Aquinas. And that is certainly the case today with Facebook and Twitter.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders restate defence 'autonomy' plan
  2. Rights group exposes Ethiopia massacre
  3. US carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria
  4. Malta closes investigation into journalist murder
  5. Dutch parliament calls China treatment of Uighurs genocide
  6. Spain fined €15m by ECJ over data failures
  7. Belarus: Anti-government protester jailed for 10 years
  8. German charged with spying for Russia in Bundestag


EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. Armenia 'coup' shows waning of EU star in South Caucasus
  2. 'Difficult weeks' ahead, as variants spread across EU
  3. EU top court advised to strike down Hungary's asylum policy
  4. Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency
  5. Is EU poised to solve child labour in 'green' batteries?
  6. The trap of spreading ideas while attacking them
  7. Who are the EU's new Russian deplorables?
  8. Afghan asylum family beaten in Greece, set adrift at sea

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us