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Investors dump Greek stocks amid growing political uncertainty over presidential vote

  • Greece's main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras of Syriza party speaks during a parliament meeting for a vote on the country's 2015 budget in Athens on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Greece's conservative government rejected demands by rescue lenders for deeper austerity measures, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said last week, describing calls for further cuts as "catastrophic" for the country's chances for recovery. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

    Greece's main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras of Syriza party speaks during a parliament meeting for a vote on the country's 2015 budget in Athens on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Greece's conservative government rejected demands by rescue lenders for deeper austerity measures, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said last week, describing calls for further cuts as "catastrophic" for the country's chances for recovery. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • An employee sits at the reception desk under screens showing falling stocks  in red, as a man who is reflected on a window enters  at the Athens Stock Exchange, on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. The Athens benchmark index tumbled 10.5 percent in midday trading Tuesday, the biggest one-day drop since 1987, after the conservative-led government brought forward the date of a presidential vote. If the vote proves inconclusive, it could lead to general elections. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    An employee sits at the reception desk under screens showing falling stocks in red, as a man who is reflected on a window enters at the Athens Stock Exchange, on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. The Athens benchmark index tumbled 10.5 percent in midday trading Tuesday, the biggest one-day drop since 1987, after the conservative-led government brought forward the date of a presidential vote. If the vote proves inconclusive, it could lead to general elections. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • An employee stands next to screens showing tumbling indexes at the Athens Stock Exchange, on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. The Athens benchmark index tumbled 10.5 percent in midday trading Tuesday, the biggest one-day drop since 1987, after the conservative-led government brought forward the date of a presidential vote. If the vote proves inconclusive, it could lead to general elections. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    An employee stands next to screens showing tumbling indexes at the Athens Stock Exchange, on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. The Athens benchmark index tumbled 10.5 percent in midday trading Tuesday, the biggest one-day drop since 1987, after the conservative-led government brought forward the date of a presidential vote. If the vote proves inconclusive, it could lead to general elections. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

Greek shares are diving a day after the conservative-led government brought forward the date of a crucial presidential vote, raising a strong possibility of early general elections in the austerity-weary country.

The Athens benchmark general index was down 6.4 percent in early trading Tuesday, reflecting fears of protracted political uncertainty as Greece struggles to complete a painful financial turnaround.

Greece's president is a figurehead with minimal political clout. But the election requires a super-majority that would probably elude the struggling governing coalition. If three successive votes, from Dec. 17-29, prove fruitless, general elections must be called by early February.

The left-wing Syriza main opposition party is steadily leading polls, though without enough support to govern alone. Syriza opposes the international bailouts that saved Greece from bankruptcy in 2010.