ATHENS, September 7 (RIA Novosti) - Greek President Karolos Papoulias has signed a decree dismissing the country's parliament and setting early elections for October 4.
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis has earlier said he would ask Papoulias to dissolve the parliament because dealing with the complex situation in the country and the consequences of the global financial crisis required tough decisions.
Greece currently has one of the biggest public debts in the euro zone, amounting to nearly 100% of its GDP.
With only a one-seat majority in parliament, the New Democracy party has so far hesitated to push ahead with far-reaching reforms to reduce the budget deficit and improve competitiveness.
Opinion polls say Karamanlis' party is lagging behind the opposition PASOK Party, but the polls also show that PASOK would fail to gain enough votes to form a majority in parliament, which would necessitate either the formation of a coalition government or new elections.