Euronews’ correspondent in Athens, Stamatis Giannisis, said: “The 160 votes the ruling coalition’s candidate managed in the first round are still 20 fewer than needed to avoid a general election. The government is optimistic that before a third round, several independent and smaller opposition party MPs will change their minds.”
A second presidential vote - in which the winner will also require 200 votes for a victory - will now be held on Tuesday 23 December 2014.
The result raises the chance of a general election, and there is a distinct possibility that the left-wing, anti-austerity party Syriza could win such a vote – potentially putting the country's international bailout into jeopardy. Syriza currently holds a 3.6-percentage-point lead over the ruling conservatives, a poll published after the first round of a presidential vote on Wednesday showed, Reuters reported. Alexis Tsipras (Greek: Αλέξης Τσίπρας; born 28 July 1974) is a Greek politician who is currently the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA).
"There's no doubt that Syriza has had all the momentum politically in the last year to 18 months in Greece and the unpopularity of the bailout is something that is very (prevalent) with Greeks," commented David Lea, senior analyst at Control Risks.
Alexis Tsipras a fan of leftist revolutionary Che Guevara -- whose portrait hangs in the party's headquarters -- said he believed Greece would play a key role in countering what he said was an attempt to take away democratic rights in Europe.
"I believe in the force and the power of the people, he said. "And everything that happened in Greece last year -- the goal was to take the power from the people."
Described by a German magazine as among Europe's most dangerous men just two years ago, Tsipras today is closer than ever to clinching power as the government struggles to secure support needed to win a presidential vote and avert snap elections. Speculation that Greece's government could try to cobble together a broad national coalition to avert snap elections have risen after Samaras lost the first round of the presidential vote on Wednesday by a larger-than-expected margin.
A recent Greek poll showed SYRIZA still in the lead with 7% difference from ruling New Democracy.