Former Prime Minister George Papandreou has added to the political turmoil in Greece by suggesting that he would a seek a central political role if Parliament is unable to elect a president and the country heads to snap elections.
Despite earlier speculation that Democratic Left (DIMAR) might disband so its members could join SYRIZA, the one-time coalition partner decided late on Wednesday that it would not make such a move. DIMAR also reaffirmed its decision not to vote for presidential candidate Stavros Dimas, making the chances of him being elected slimmer.
In what could be a very tight presidential election, the role of one-time coalition partner Democratic Left (DIMAR) will be crucial.
The government’s surprise announcement on Monday that it is bringing forward the presidential election by two months marks the start of a desperate scramble for the votes of independent and opposition MPs that will determine whether the coalition survives or whether Greece heads for early national polls.
The government has decided to move forward by around two months the presidential vote in Parliament, with the first roll call ballot taking place on December 17, followed by the second three days later and the final round on December 29.
The government won the vote for the 2015 budget in the early hours of Monday but the result provided few clues about how the presidential ballot, due in mid-February, could pan out.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras took the unusual step of criticising the troika on Tuesday, an indication of how frustrated the government feels as it is squeezed between lenders’ demands and domestic political pressures.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras gave on Monday his first televised interview since his party’s victory in the European Parliament elections but provided little new information regarding to his intentions for governing.
The fragmentation of Greek politics shows no sign of abating: The creation of another two parties – on opposite sides of the political spectrum – has been announced.
Despite a flurry of calls for the government and the opposition to come to a compromise over the presidential candidate, putting an end to speculation about early elections, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras made it clear over the weekend that his party is in no mood to compromise.