Greece's government last night announced that crucial presidential elections due in two months time would instead happen next week.
The surprise decision comes after Eurozone finance chiefs yesterday said they supported an extension of Greece’s bailout of two months.
Government spokesman Sofia Voultepsi said last night the vote would be held 17 December with possible later rounds held through 22 December.
An early presidential election would allow Greek authorities to focus on talks with the troika – the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund.
The presidential elections could trigger early elections if Prime Minister Antonis Samaras loses his bid to get his presidential candidate elected.
Greek law states that if no candidates can get 200 votes in the first vote a second must be held five days later. If still no one earns 200 votes a third vote is conducted which requires a candidate to get 180 votes. Should that fail, there follows a snap election.
The leftist party Syriza currently leads the Samaras’ party in opinion polls. “The decision – in coordination with the troika – to speed up the presidential vote, is a hopeless effort to hide new measures and blackmail the votes of lawmakers, they won't make it,” Syriza said in a statement.
Political uncertainty and public discontent have plagued Greece after its harsh recession. However, while Greece’s resumed some growth, albeit from a low base, northern states are faced with stagnation.
Official figures released yesterday showed industrial production in Germany only rose by 0.8 per cent year-on-year and 0.2 per cent month-on-month in October. It comes despite a weaker euro which had the potential to revive the Eurozone’s hopes by boosting exports. Investor sentiment jumped in December by its third largest amount on record, according to think tank Sentix.