Greece is heading to early general elections- The third and final parliamentary vote for the election of a new President failed to yield the required majority
The third and final vote in Greek Parliament for the election of a new President of the Hellenic Republic that took place earlier today, failed to yield the required 3/5ths majority i.e., 180 “yes” votes. Specifically, the presidential nominee secured 168 in favor votes, exactly the same number as was the case in last week’s second round, i.e., 155MPs of the coalition government + 13 independent MPs including two former Golden Dawn parliamentarians. The number of no (i.e., “present” ) votes totaled 132; 121 attending lawmakers from opposition parties as none of them broke the official party line + 11 independent MPs.
According to Article 32, paragraph 4 of the Constitution of Greece, should the third round of vote fail to secure the needed majority for the election of a new President, Parliament will have to be dissolved within ten days and general elections will be called. A Presidential Decree dissolving the Parliament and officially calling for national elections is reportedly expected to be issued tomorrow (Tuesday, December 30) . As per Article 53, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, general elections must be held within 30 days from the dissolution of Parliament and the new Parliament is required to convoke in regular session within another 30 days. Speaking to reporters shortly after the conclusion of today’s parliamentary procedure, Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras commented that “we did all we could to avert early elections which entail serious dangers” adding that snap elections will likely be held on January 25, 2015. On his part, Alexis Tsipras, the President of the main opposition party SYRIZA, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the vote in Parliament adding that it is “an historic day for Greek democracy” and that “the future has begun”.
As per Article 32 of the Constitution, as soon as the new Parliament convenes, it will have to proceed with the election of the new President, again through three separate votes. In the first one, a 3/5ths majority of the total number of parliamentarians is required. Should it fail to secure the required majority, the ballot must be repeated within five days with the election of the presidential nominee now requiring an absolute majority i.e., 50%+1 or 151 of total seats. If the latter also fails to yield a decisive outcome, a third one must take place within five days, with relative majority now required for the election of the new President.