ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he remained hopeful that parliament would elect a head of state, after failing on Wednesday in the first of three attempts to elect his nominee and avert snap elections.
"Today was the first of three votes. We have two more ahead of us," Samaras told reporters as he left parliament.
"We are hopeful a president will be elected. Conditions are difficult, Greek lawmakers are aware that the country cannot afford adventures."
The leader of Democratic Left, a small centre-left party whose lawmakers are expected to play a decisive role in the final round on Dec. 29, said Wednesday's result showed the country was likely to be heading for the polls.
"Based on today's results, the road opens for elections," party chief Fotis Kouvelis told reporters.
The head of another small party that is expected to play a crucial role, the right-wing Independent Greeks, said the result showed the "attempt to terrorise lawmakers failed" and also predicted elections.
Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Lefteris Papadimas, Writing by Deepa Babington