World

Parliamentary vote for new Greek President could pave the way to early polls

  • A municipal worker cleans the plaza in front of the Parliament building as visitors watch the  Greek Presidential Guards, at the monument of the unknown soldier in Athens on Saturday, Dec. 27 2014. A crucial vote in Parliament Monday will determine whether Greece will have a new President of the Republic or will have to go to early elections in about a month for another Parliament to elect one. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A municipal worker cleans the plaza in front of the Parliament building as visitors watch the Greek Presidential Guards, at the monument of the unknown soldier in Athens on Saturday, Dec. 27 2014. A crucial vote in Parliament Monday will determine whether Greece will have a new President of the Republic or will have to go to early elections in about a month for another Parliament to elect one. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A child poses for photos next to a Greek Presidential Guard,  at the monument of the unknown soldier in front of the parliament building in Athens on Saturday, Dec. 27 2014. A crucial vote in Parliament Monday will determine whether Greece will have a new President of the Republic or will have to go to early elections in about a month for another Parliament to elect one. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A child poses for photos next to a Greek Presidential Guard, at the monument of the unknown soldier in front of the parliament building in Athens on Saturday, Dec. 27 2014. A crucial vote in Parliament Monday will determine whether Greece will have a new President of the Republic or will have to go to early elections in about a month for another Parliament to elect one. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Greek Presidential Guard, casts his shadow on the wall as he performs a ceremonial march at the monument of the unknown soldier in front of the parliament building in Athens on Saturday, Dec. 27 2014. A crucial vote in Parliament Monday will determine whether Greece will have a new President of the Republic or will have to go to early elections in about a month for another Parliament to elect one. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

    A Greek Presidential Guard, casts his shadow on the wall as he performs a ceremonial march at the monument of the unknown soldier in front of the parliament building in Athens on Saturday, Dec. 27 2014. A crucial vote in Parliament Monday will determine whether Greece will have a new President of the Republic or will have to go to early elections in about a month for another Parliament to elect one. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)  (The Associated Press)

Greek lawmakers are voting Monday for a new president of the republic. But they could end up campaigning for reelection if the governing coalition's candidate fails to get a constitutionally required three-fifths majority.

In two previous ballots, Stavros Dimas, 73, a conservative former minister and European commissioner, won 160 and 168 votes, respectively. He must now get 180 votes in the 300-member Parliament. If not, early elections will take place in late January or early February.

The new parliament can elect a president by a simple majority of those voting

With polls showing left-wing opposition Syriza ahead, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said an election could be "disastrous" while heavily indebted Greece is negotiating with its creditors. Syriza opposes the terms of the bailout deals which kept Greece from defaulting.