Greek gov’t struggling to gather votes to elect president in final ballot

Greek MPs are due to vote in the third and final presidential ballot at noon, local time, with the government’s candidate Stavros Dimas needing to gather 180 votes so snap elections can be avoided.

Dimas gained 168 votes in the second round, leaving the coalition looking for 12 more MPs to back the ex-EU Commissioner. However, it appears that the government will not be able to meet this target.

Nine of the 25 independent lawmakers have insisted they will not support Dimas, meaning that the government needs to gain votes from Democratic Left (DIMAR), which has nine MPs, and Independent Greeks, which has 12 lawmakers. So far, both parties have insisted they will not vote with the government.

If Dimas is not elected in the roll call vote, Parliament has to be dissolved within 10 days and snap elections called within the following 30 days. The most likely date for the early general elections would be January 25 or February 1.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called a cabinet meeting for 2 p.m.