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Dec 29, 2014 5:00 AM

New president or early election? Greece finds out Monday

The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Greek lawmakers are to vote in a final round Monday for the country's new president, in a ballot that could force an early general election and, some fear, endanger the country's bailout.

In two previous ballots, Stavros Dimas, 73, a conservative former minister and European commissioner, won 160 and 168 votes, respectively. He must now get 180 votes in the 300-member Parliament. If not, early elections will take place in late January or early February.

A new parliament could elect a president by a simple majority of those voting.

Just ahead of Monday's midday vote, shares on the Athens Stock Exchange were nearly 8 percent lower, with the political uncertainty generating more investor jitters.

With polls showing the left-wing opposition Syriza party ahead, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said an election could be "disastrous" while heavily indebted Greece is negotiating with its creditors. Syriza opposes the terms of the bailout deals which kept Greece from defaulting.


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