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Greeks Face Crucial Vote

  • VOA News

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reacts during the second of three rounds of a presidential vote at the Greek parliament in Athens, December 23, 2014.

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reacts during the second of three rounds of a presidential vote at the Greek parliament in Athens, December 23, 2014.

Greece's parliament is voting for a new president Monday in the third and final effort to avoid snap elections that could bring the left-wing Syriza party to power and derail an international bailout.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund, which have overseen two international bailouts of Greece, fear Syriza would undo many of the country's ongoing economic reforms.

The government's presidential candidate is former European Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas. He will need to secure 180 votes Monday, but analysts doubt that target will be reached.

Recent opinion polls ahead of possible snap elections indicate Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' ruling coalition trailing Syriza, which wants to renegotiate the conditions of the bailout and roll back unpopular austerity measures imposed by creditors.

The reforms required by the creditors have improved the government's finances, but have taken a heavy toll on Greeks as unemployment has soared and many people have had wages and benefits cut.

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