Debate about presidential election peaks as independent MPs mull backing gov’t

Speculation about the government’s prospects for achieving the 180-seat super-majority needed to elect a president peaked on Friday after several independent and opposition MPs indicated that they would be willing to back the coalition’s candidate, thus contributing toward averting snap polls.

The MPs included independent MPs Spyros Lykoudis, Petros Tatsopoulos, Grigoris Psarianos, Vassilis Oikonomou, Christos Aidonis, Paris Moutsinas, Yiannis Kourakos and Giorgos Kasapidis as well as Democratic Left (DIMAR) lawmakers Nikos Tsoukalis, Niki Fountas and Thomas Psyrras.

The MPs are said to have co-signed a document calling for elections to be postponed and emphasizing the need for political consensus on the candidate who will replace President Karolos Papoulias. The document also called on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and leftist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to agree on a date for general elections later in 2015.

Some of the lawmakers, chiefly Tatsopoulos and Tsoukalis, noted, however, that their signature would be dependent on both Samaras and Tsipras approving the scenario, a prospect which is highly unlikely.

Other MPs, including the independent Mimis Androulakis, and DIMAR’s Maria Repousi, are said to have expressed an interest in the initiative too. On Friday, Androulakis, in comments to Skai, did not rule out the possibility of backing the coalition’s candidate for president.