European shares hit by Greek stocks as Athens vote looms
* Greek lawmakers fail to elect new president
* Athens' ATG equity index falls, hitting European markets
* Spanish and Italian markets also weaken
* UK's FTSE outperforms, helped by rise in gold miners
By Francesco Canepa and Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Greek shares slumped on Monday, knocking European stock markets, after lawmakers rejected the government's candidate for president, leaving Greece facing a snap election that could derail its bailout programme.
Sole candidate Stavros Dimas, a former European Commissioner, fell short of the 180 vote supermajority needed to become president. He secured 168 votes in parliament, the same score he achieved in the second round.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced a snap election on Jan 25. Opinion polls point to a victory by the radical leftist Syriza party, which wants to wipe out a big part of Greece's debt, and cancel the terms of a bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund that Greece still needs to pay its bills.
The benchmark ATG Athex General Composite Share Price Index fell 6.4 percent, leaving it near levels not seen since 2012. The Athens index had already slumped due to fears that Dimas would fall short, dropping 12.8 percent on Dec. 9, and is down 31 percent in 2014. Continuación...