Politic of Greece

Greece is a parliamentarian presidential democracy. The president of the democracy (a republic) is the regulator of their political system. He or she is elected by the parliament every 5 years by nominal vote and shares the legislative power of the country with the deputies and the executive power with the government. To be eligible to stand for election, a candidate must be a politician of Greek nationality, be over forty years of age and must not have lost his eligibility (through having a criminal record, for example).

In order to win the presidential election, the candidate must receive the vote of at least 180 of the 300 deputies of the Greek parliament.

The Greek parliament (House of Deputies) is composed of 300 deputies elected for a four-year period by the direct universal suffrage of the Greek people. In order for a party to govern, they must obtain more than 150 seats in parliament. If no party manages this, the party having obtained the most votes has three days to form a coalition with another party and thus obtain the 150 seats required. If they cannot do this in the time allotted, it is the turn of the second party who will be elected if they manage to form a coalition to obtain the necessary number of seats.

The Prime Minister of Greece was elected as head of the political party which obtained a majority of seats in parliament. During the last few weeks there has been much excitement in Greece, as at every election period. The next parliamentary elections (and at the same time those of the Prime Minister) will take place on 7 March and, Greece being the cradle of democracy, everyone is very preoccupied with the political future of the country. The universities, which are already extremely politically implicated, turn into giant stands for the political parties, as does every street corner in Athens and the other large towns.

So, parliamentary elections take place every 4 years. Any Greek citizen of 18 and over on 1st January of the current year can vote. For example, if an election takes place on 7 March 2004, all those having attained their majority before 1 January 2004 will be able to vote. All citizens eligible to vote have an election card. Voting is obligatory and any citizen failing in their civic duty is liable to be prosecuted. Men and women voted in separate places and mixed voting only came in at the last elections. Election day lasts from sunrise to sunset and everyone goes to vote in a previously designated place (schools, town-halls etc.) in their own district.

Voting is nominative (although anonymous), and takes place in strict privacy. Every voter is given a list for each political party represented in their region of Greece and an envelope. The candidates for each political party are shown on that party’s list and the elector can put a cross against those that he wishes to elect or simply return the whole list.

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