Greece stepped up on Sunday its efforts to pave the way for an early and clean exit from its bailout programme at the end of the year but, as Greek officials admitted, all the options are still open.
The coalition sailed through Friday night's confidence vote, gaining the support of all of its 155 MPs, but failing to attract any others to its camp, with only two lawmakers voting "present" and 131 against the government.
A Greek delegation is due to meet International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde on Sunday to discuss the government’s plans for an early exit from its bailout programme but the former French finance minister has questioned hopes in Athens for a clean break.
New Democracy and SYRIZA started the confidence vote as they mean to continue until Friday night’s ballot, launching full-scale attacks on each other and setting the political agenda for the weeks to come.
The latest troika review of the Greek adjustment programme was adjourned on Tuesday with the two sides having failed to settle a number of major issues.
Democratic Left (DIMAR), part of the government between June 2012 and June 2013, and one of the coalition’s main hopes for ensuring it does not lose the presidential vote early next year has been left in limbo after a weekend of high political drama at the party’s conference.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras asked for a confidence vote next week so his government will gain more time to improve its fortunes before the process to elect a new president of the republic begins in February.
Amid growing speculation that he would call early elections, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has decided to go in another direction entirely.
The possibility of snap general elections being called is never far away in Greece: After all, the country has not had elections at the end of a full term since June 1989.
Greece began a new and crucial round of talks with troika officials on Tuesday, when inspectors arrived for the latest review of the Greek adjustment programme, but the government will have one eye on political developments.