Greek Government Considers Constitutional Reform

Man putting a ballot into a voting box - Greece

(Greece) – Greek government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said on Tuesday that the current administration will undergo a review of the current constitution in order to consider reforms of the current electoral system. As part of her statement, she didn’t rule out the possibility of a referendum on constitutional reform. Instead, she agreed with statements Panyiotis Kouroublis, the Interior Minister of Greece, that the government has a plan to possibly change the current electoral law.

In the current system, polls usually take pace on Sundays, mostly in schools and other public buildings. Students are given a four day weekend in order for authorities to prepare and hold the elections. This also gives people who live elsewhere in Greece a chance to head home in order to participate in the elections in their home towns. Voting takes place from “sunrise to sunset” and typical hours are from approximately 7 AM to 8 PM. Voters need identification in order to be able to vote. Voters are able to select specific candidates within their parties and they may vote according to how many seats are available. A preliminary tally is done at the polling stations before the final count is made later on.

Gerovasili has now said that the government is eyeing a new system, referred to as a “simple proportional representation.” She also went on to say that they haven’t decided whether or not the 50-seat bonus given to the winning party would still be in play or if it will be either eliminated or minimized. She also confirmed that they are also looking to overhaul the constitution as a whole. They are considering changing things such as how the president of the country is elected. Currently, the president is appointed by the Parliament but the government is considering allowing the citizens to elect the president.

There is a committee now in place that has been given a deadline of one year to put together a proposal for these constitutional changes. From there, the proposal will be considered and either accepted or rejected. Members of the panel will include Kouroublis as well as the Labor Minister, Giorgos Katrougalos and also the SYRIZA MEP, Costas Chrysogonos. Katrougalos and Chrysgonos are professors of constitional law. The committee is scheduled to present the proposal on July 25, which is the anniversary of when democracy was restored in Greece in 1974.


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