SYRIZA spokesman confident gov’t will fail to elect President

A few hours ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote, SYRIZA spokesman Panos Skourletis on Wednesday expressed his confidence that the New Democracy/PASOK government will muster enough support to elect a new President.

“I think that the first ballot will confirm that [the government] is far from gathering the 180 votes it needs,” Skourletis told Vima radio Wednesday.

“There is no sign that these votes can be gathered in the next rounds,” said Skourletis, suggesting that at stake in the election is the continuation of the government’s austerity policies.

The first of a possible three votes to elect Karolos Papoulias’s successor begins at 7 p.m.

Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s office issued a statement saying the vote was not about his government but about defending the constitution and respecting the office of president.

“It is also to avoid a political adventure that could prove fatal for the country’s European course,” it said.