Greece Heads to Early Elections

The governing coalition today failed to acquire the 180 votes necessary to elect its presidential candidate, Stavros Dimas, to office (the first such failure in Greek history). Dimas received 168 votes – no change from the second round. Elections are set for January 25. Current polls indicate that SYRIZA will come out on top, though the party’s lead over ND is only 4-5 points (27-28% vs. 22-23% – the remaining parties all poll under 7%, for the most part). Under Greek election law, the first-place party nets an additional 50 seats in parliament. Even so, a party needs ca. 35% of the overall vote to govern independently, so SYRIZA would need a governing partner – and it’s not at all clear who that would be. But stay tuned – George Papandreou, former prime minister from 2009-2011, son of PASOK founder and former prime minister Andreas Papandreou, and grandson of former prime minister George Papandreou (the Greeks like their political dynasties just as much as we Americans do…) – is forming a new center-left party. It’s sure to change the dynamic in the upcoming election and might position Papandreou as kingmaker in the new parliament.

The Times has an overview and the Press Project is live blogging.

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