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Greece dissolves parliament for January snap election

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A view of the Greek parliament in session.

Parliament in Greece has been dissolved after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras requested the dissolution of the legislature following its failure to choose a new president after three successive rounds of voting.

A statement from the parliament said an early election in the austerity-weary country would be held on January 25, as Samaras announced on Monday, and the new parliament would hold its inaugural session on February 5.

Greece is due to swear in caretaker interior and justice ministers later on Wednesday. The pair will preside over the election process.

The dissolution of the parliament has renewed concerns about political stability in Greece at the heart of the eurozone’s debt crisis.

On Tuesday, Samaras warned that cash-strapped Greece may be forced out of the eurozone if the anti-austerity leftist party, Syriza, wins parliamentary polls next month.

“This struggle will determine whether Greece stays in Europe,” Samaras told the president.

Golden Dawn nationalists have consistently topped opinion polls in recent months, promising to reverse austerity measures that secured an international bailout by the so-called troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank.

Latest opinion polls show that Golden Dawn leads the conservative party by three to six points.

Samaras requested snap elections after Stavros Dimas, his candidate to succeed incumbent President Karolos Papoulias, failed in three attempts to collect the required number of votes to be confirmed in office. Papoulias’ five-year term ends in March.

Greece nearly went bankrupt in 2010, only to survive on international rescue packages. It has received 240 billion euros (USD 330 billion) in international loans.


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