Greek parliament to vote in third-round of presidential election

Global Business

Greece’s parliament is gearing up for the first of a three-round vote to elect the country’s new president after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, called for the snap presidential election earlier this month. The decision has triggered a new political crisis in Greece and reignited fears about the country’s economic future. Greece has accepted an international 240 billion euro ($296 billion) bailout to save its economy in exchange for severe budget cuts and painful reforms. CCTV America’s Filio Kontrafouri reported this story from Athens.

Greek parliament to vote in third-round of presidential election

Greece’s parliament is gearing up for the first of a three-round vote to elect the country’s new president after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, called for the snap presidential election earlier this month. The decision has triggered a new political crisis in Greece and reignited fears about the country’s economic future. Greece has accepted an international 240 billion euro ($296 billion) bailout to save its economy in exchange for severe budget cuts and painful reforms. CCTV America’s Filio Kontrafouri reported this story from Athens.

The election will take place on December 29. Greece’s coalition government doesn’t have the required votes to elect a new president. Failure to do so would lead to an early general election, likely won by the Syriza opposition, a far-left party that vows to end austerity and clash with Greece’s lenders in Europe and the IMF.

“It’s a political calculation I think. The fact that the presidential election is [surrounded by] an atmosphere of uncertainty, gives a bigger chance for a president to be elected. And if he is not elected, it gives better chances to the governing parties in the elections to come. The actual governing parties are playing the card of fear, Syriza is playing the card of renewal,” Pavlos Tsimas, a political journalist at MEGA Channel, said.

The government promised to end the bailout in December, however Greece received a two-month extension to complete negotiations with its creditors on more painful reforms, a prerequisite to receive a safety credit line before it resumes borrowing from abroad. If these negotiations fail due to results in the early elections, the government said Greece could be left in financial limbo.

The Prime Minister brought the presidential vote forward to end the political uncertainty that he said was being compromised by constant election demands from the leftist opposition. But for now, this high-risk move seems to have the opposite effect.

The Athens stock exchange tanked following the Prime Minister’s announcement. Greece’s borrowing costs have risen further. Both local and international media have also been reviving speculation about a possible default. University of Athens economics Professor Panagiotis Petrakis said an exit from the Eurozone, known colloquially as “Grexit”, is not likely while some risks for Europe have decreased.

“Europe has shielded itself at such a degree that it’s not very much threatened (by Greece), the Greek danger is manageable. But it depends what shape this danger will take. If it shapes in to something that will become a starting point for “PODEMOS” in Spain or LePen in France, then we will have a different landscape. The Greek case is not one of Europe’s big problems now,” Petrakis said.

This year Greece returned to feeble growth after a six-year recession. Unemployment is dropping but remains close to a staggering 26 percent. Yet, none of this has translated to improved living standards for Greeks, who highly disapprove the government’s austerity policies.


Greek ambassador to US Christos Panagopoulos discusses elections in Greece

CCTV America interviewed Christos Panagopoulos, the Greek ambassador to U.S. to discuss the country debt and elecions.

Greek ambassador to US Christos Panagopoulos discusses elections in Greece

CCTV America was joined by Christos Panagopoulos, Greek ambassador to U.S. to talk about the country’s economy.