ATHENS — Greece’s troubled coalition government said it would call a vote of confidence in Parliament next week, hours after the country’s left-wing opposition demanded early elections citing ongoing austerity measures.
Government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi said the government would request the vote Oct. 6th, at the end of Parliament’s summer recess, but gave no further details. The vote is likely to be held late Oct. 6.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ Conservative-led coalition could be forced to call an early election before March as it requires opposition support in Parliament to elect a new President.
The Conservatives are currently trailing in opinion polls behind the opposition anti-bailout SYRIZA party, which is demanding that Greece renegotiate the terms of its 240 billion euro ($302.5 billion) bailout agreements with the Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.
The bailout money prevented Greece from filing for bankruptcy when it lost market access in 2010, but austerity measures demanded in return for the loans have led to a dramatic rise in poverty and unemployment.
“The only road for the country’s salvation is the people’s vote and a strong mandate for the country’s recovery, and a tough renegotiation at a European level. There’s no other solution,” SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said.
Samaras formed a three-party coalition government in 2012, but is currently only allied with his former rival, the PASOK Socialist party. Together they have 154 seats in the 300-member parliament.
In recent weeks, several prominent PASOK officials have openly spoken in favor of siding with SYRIZA in a post-election coalition.
Inspectors from the European Union and IMF are currently in Athens for their latest review of the bailout program and on Oct. 1 continued meetings for a second day with cabinet officials.