Greek Parliament Formally Dissolved, Campaigning Begins

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Snap Election Has Renewed Concerns About Stability.

Greece’s parliament was formally dissolved Wednesday, officially marking the start of a month-long election campaign which has renewed concerns about political stability in the country at the heart of the eurozone’s debt crisis.

As per tradition, the formal dissolution took place when the chamber’s sergeant-at-arms posted a presidential decree next to the two main entrances of the parliament building in central Athens late Wednesday morning.

The decree, cosigned by President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, sets Jan. 25 as the date for new elections and announced that parliament would reconvene on Feb. 5 following those elections. On Tuesday, Mr. Samaras had asked the president to dissolve the legislature after it failed to elect a new head of state for Greece.

Later Wednesday, Greece is due to swear in caretaker interior and justice ministers, who will preside over the election process.

The elections, coming some 18 months ahead of schedule, are expected to pit the governing New Democracy party of Mr. Samaras against rival Syriza. Greece’s leftwing opposition party opposes the country’s draconian austerity measures and has promised to roll back many of the reforms Greece has undertaken in the past four years in return for €240 billion ($292 billion) worth of international aid.

However, it remains unclear whether either party will garner enough popular support to rule on its own, or be forced into a coalition government, something that is further stoking fears of an extended period of political uncertainty.

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