ATHENS, December 23 (Sputnik) – Members of the Greek parliament must elect a president in the third round of voting due to be held on December 29 to avoid the risk of political instability in the country, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, the Greek parliament failed for the second time to elect a president for the country when one-third of parliamentarians abstained from voting. The only presidential candidate nominated by Greece's fractious coalition, Stavros Dimas, needed at least 200 votes from the 300-member parliament. The main opposition party in the Greek parliament, Syriza, has not nominated any candidate as they are seeking new general elections.
Samaras stressed that during the third round of voting Greek parliamentarians will not be given an opportunity to abstain.
"Everyone will have to take full responsibility for the consequences of the voting that affects the stability and the future of the country," he added.
If a president is not elected during the third round, Greece will have to hold general elections within a month, as prescribed by the Greek Constitution. The members of the radical leftist Syriza party promise to undo the austerity measures adopted in recent years, if they win the general elections.
The new political crisis in Greece could potentially exacerbate the economic crisis that the country has been struggling with since 2010. Greece has been dependent on billions of euros in rescue loans from the EU and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for strict austerity measures.