The Greek government goes into the final round of the presidential vote on Monday knowing it is unlikely that its candidate, Stavros Dimas, will be elected and that snap national elections will have to be called.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has decided not to increase the offer he made last Sunday in a bid to secure the election of Stavros Dimas as president in the third and final vote on Monday.
The government will be on a slightly stronger footing going into the third and decisive presidential ballot on December 29 after candidate Stavros Dimas drew 168 votes in the second round on Tuesday.
The government looks certain to build today on the 160 votes it received in the first presidential election but the second ballot is likely to leave much ground to be covered before the final election on December 29.
Recent surveys have highlighted three clear trends in Greek public opinion: A slight majority in favour of avoiding snap elections, a closing of the gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy and a prevalent mistrust of both the government and the opposition.
In one more tactical move before the critical final vote for president, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras softened his stance on Sunday, offering a deal to any parties or MPs that back his candidate Stavros Dimas and help avoid snap elections.
New allegations of attempts to bribe an Independent Greeks MP have surfaced, threatening to cast a shadow over the presidential vote and perhaps affect the way that undecided parliamentarians vote.
The prospect of some kind of last minute deal emerging to secure the election of a president and averting snap elections in Greece is looking slim at the moment despite a growing number of government MPs openly stating their support for a compromise solution.
Wednesday’s presidential ballot, in which government candidate Stavros Dimas attracted just 160 votes, leaves the coalition with a huge amount of work to do by the final vote on December 29 if it is to have any chance of avoiding early election.
A total of 160 MPs backed the government's presidential candidate, Stavros Dimas, on Wednesday, which was one vote less than the coalition's most conservative estimates. Another 135 voted "present" and five were absent.