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A Show of Hands to Decide Fate of Greek Prime Minister

The former Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou
Pierre Verdy | AFP | Getty Images
The former Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou

The Greek parliament is expected to have a confidence vote at midnight in Athens.

That's around 5 p.m. eastern time.

But does that mean that we will have the results at 5 pm? Or will the vote drag on for hours, much as some Congressional votes seem to?

Local sources tell us that we should have the results quite quickly.

The vote will be taken by a show of hands. So we could know the fate of the sitting Greek government about five minutes after 5 p.m.

The Socialist prime minister, George Papandreou, requested the confidence vote last week.

While it may seem odd for a sitting government leader to jeopardize his own position by calling for a vote that could result in the need to hold new elections, the move was probably necessitated by creditor demands.

After the defections of a few members of his party, which controls 155 out of 300 seats in the Parliament, Papandreou needs to show that he still commands the loyalty of his ministers in order to credibly reassure international markets that Greece will stand by its austerity promises.

Most analysts believe that Papandreou will survive tonight's election.

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