Greek Parliament again fails to back Samaras candidate

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras΄s candidate for the presidency failed to win enough support in the second round of the parliamentary vote Tuesday, but managed to gather eight more votes than in the first round from independent lawmakers.

The government couldn΄t gather the two-thirds needed to elect former European Commissioner Stavros Dimas as the next president.

In the 300-seat Parliament, 168 members of the chamber voted in favor of the candidate, short of the needed 200. A present–or neutral–vote was cast by 131 lawmakers, while one lawmaker was absent.

The government, a coalition of the conservative New Democracy and socialist Pasok parties, holds just 155 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. It will have to rely on the votes of some two dozen independent lawmakers, as well as renegade deputies in two smaller parties, to reach the minimum of 180 votes needed for approval in the final round, scheduled for Dec. 29.

Under Greece΄s constitution, if Mr. Samaras fails to get the necessary support by then to back his candidate by the third and final round of voting, Parliament is dissolved and national elections are called.