Greek lawmakers failed to reach the majority to elect a new president in a second round of voting. As Sonia Legg reports, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras now has six days to win over 12 members of parliament and avert a snap general election.
Greek markets had factored in a failure. But there were still a few jitters after the government's choice for president was again unable to secure the necessary 180 votes. Bonds were up and Athen's main index down. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras now has six days to persuade 12 more lawmakers to change their views before a third and final vote next week. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ANTONIS SAMARAS, SAYING: "I am hopeful that in the third round we will avoid a national danger, a national adventure." Failure will mean a snap general election. And that's likely to let in the opposition Syriza party. It's leader Alexis Tsipras is now in favour of staying in the euro but he remains firmly anti-austerity (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) MAIN OPPOSITION SYRIZA PARTY LEADER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "Neither parliament nor the people will give a blank check to Samaras so he can continue with bailouts and austerity measures." Greece is still negotiating with the EU and IMF in the hope of exiting its bailout next year. But its economy has been looking up and investors had been feeling more secure about Greece's future in the euro zone. That's not necessarily the case now, says FXPro's head of research, Simon Smith. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMON SMITH, HEAD OF RESEARCH, FXPRO, SAYING: "They have really pushed the envelope in terms of reform - not in terms of what they have achieved - but in terms of what they have managed to get away with not doing. So I think that would be disruptive for Greece and dare I say the word "Grexit" fears could well be back on the agenda." Greeks have heard it all before of course. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) ATHENS RESIDENT, ALEKOS KASTRINOS, PRIVATE BUSINESSMAN, AGED 36, SAYING: "I don't think Syriza or the government are to blame, they are all to blame, they should be able to cooperate." (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) PENSIONER, MIRANDA THEODOROU, AGED 67, SAYING: "This is not the time for changes, we need to proceed as is, so we can move forward. And then afterwards there can be elections." Opinion polls show most Greeks don't want a snap election. And the government is certainly hoping it will be third time lucky during round three next week.