Greek lawmakers will vote today on whether to back Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's choice for a new head of state. The collective wisdom of financial markets suggests his gambit may fail, leading to elections early next year that could result in the nation defaulting on its debts.
Samaras needs the assent of 200 out of 300 parliamentarians, though he has three chances to muster that support between now and Dec. 29. Observers reckon he needs more than 170 in the first attempt to be on track for a win; the governing coalition controls 155 of the votes. Failure may usher opposition party Syriza into power on a platform of less economic austerity and a renegotiation of Greece's debts.