Elections in Greece


Elections in Greece

Elections in Greece gives information on election and election results in Greece.

Election of the legislature

The Greek Parliament ("Vouli ton Ellinon") has 300 members, elected for a four-year term by a system of reinforced proportional representation in 56 constituencies, 48 of which are multi-seat and 8 single-seat, and a single nationwide list. 288 of the 300 seats are determined by constituency voting, and voters may select the candidate or candidates of their choice by marking their name on the party ballot. The remaining 12 seats are filled from nationwide party lists on a top-down basis and based on the proportion of the total vote each party received.

Greek citizens aged 25 and over on the date of the election (and eligible to vote) are also eligible to be elected to Parliament.

Constituencies

Constituencies in Greece have traditionally been multi-seat, and they mostly coincide with prefectures. The number of seats is adjusted once every ten years, following the decennial population census. Prefecture constituencies may not be deprived of representation, nor may they be merged with another prefecture; they may however be split into smaller constituencies if their population increases disproportionately: nevertheless this has not been done since 1967. Population changes have left eight (Kefalonia, Lefkas, Eurytania, Grevena, Samos, Thesprotia, Phocis and Zakynthos) prefectures with a single parliamentary seat each, whereas some urban or suburban constituencies have seen large increases in their seat allotment over the years.

For example the "Athens B" constituency (which includes the major part of the Athens metropolitan area but excludes the Municipality of Athens itself, which forms the "Athens A" constituency) encompasses almost 15% of the country's electorate and consequently elects 42 members of parliament. The "Athens A" constituency elects 17 MPs, "Thessaloniki A" elects 16, Attica (excluding the four Athens and Piraeus A and B constituencies) elects 12, and the remaining constituencies elect single-digit numbers of MPs.

Voting

Polling takes place in school buildings on a Sunday, a festive occasion for students who are then given a four-day weekend off. The procedure is run by a presiding judge or attorney-at-law appointed by the local Bar association, and secretarially assisted by local citizens selected by lot in a process resembling jury duty. Local police are available too. Local party representatives are allowed to monitor tallying; their theoretical role is to ensure transparency but in practice they are delegated the roles of ordering food for the exhausted crew.

Traditionally, voting takes place "from sunrise to sunset" but times are usually rounded to the nearest "top of the hour" (e.g. 7 AM to 8 PM). Individual precincts may prolong voting time at the judge's discretion, if there are still voters queueing up to vote. Voters identify themselves by their ID cards and are given the full number of ballot papers for the constituency plus a blank ballot paper and an empty envelope. Then they withdraw to a secluded cubicle equipped with a lectern, pen and waste basket, where they select the ballot paper of their choice, if any, and mark the candidate(s) of their choice, if any; they cast the sealed envelope with the ballot paper in the ballot box and are given their ID card back.

Voters may select specific candidates within the party list of their choice by marking a cross next to the candidate name or names. The maximum allowable number of crosses on the ballot paper depends on the number of seats contested. Signs other than crosses next to a candidate name may mark the ballot as invalid during tallying, as such findings may be construed to violate voting secrecy. Ballot papers with more crosses that the maximum number allowed, or without any cross, are counted in the total party tally but are disqualified during the second part of tallying, "i.e." the determination of which individual candidate is elected to a seat already won by the candidate's party.

Once on-the-spot tallying is over and the tallies reported officially, the ballots are sealed and transported to the Central Election Service of the Interior Ministry. There ballots are recounted, mainly in order to ascertain the validity or invalidity of the few ambiguously marked ballot papers. Any unresolved matters following this recount are referred to the specially convened "Eklogodikeion" (Court of Election), which adjudicates and then officially publishes the names of elected MPs, so that the new Parliament may convene. The Court of Election may reconvene at any time in order to discuss appeals by candidates who failed to be elected, and also to fill seats that become vacant in the case of death or abdication of an MP. Such seats are filled by going down the preference tally of the party list which won the seat in the first place (there are no by-elections in Greece).

Electoral law

Under the current electoral law of "reinforced proportionality", any single party must receive at least a 3% nationwide vote tally in order to elect Members of Parliament (the so-called "3% threshold"). The law in its current form favors the first past the post party to achieve an absolute (151 out of 300 parliamentary seats) majority, provided it tallies about 41.5% of the total vote. This is touted to enhance governmental stability. The previous law (applied in the 2004 legislative elections) was even more favorable for the first party, since it needeed at least a roughly 1% tally advantage over the second one, in order to achieve an absolute (151 parliamentary seats) majority.

The current electoral law reserves 40 parliamentary seats for the "first past the post" party or coalition of parties, and apportions the remaining 260 seats proportionally according to each party's total "valid" vote percentage. This is slightly higher than the raw percentage reported, as there is always a small number of invalidated or "blank" votes (usually less than 1%), as well as the percentage of smaller parties which fail to surpass the 3% threshold, all of which are disregarded for the purpose of seat allotment.

A rather complicated set of rules deals with rounding decimal results up or down, and ensures that the smaller a constituency is, the more strictly proportional its parliamentary representation will be. Another set of rules apportions the 40 seat premium for the largest-tallying party among constituencies.

By constitutional provision, the electoral law can be changed by simple parliamentary majority, but a law so changed only becomes enforced in the election following the upcoming one, unless a 2/3 parliamentary supermajority (200 or more votes) is achieved. Only in the latter case is the new electoral law effective immediately.

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Electorate

All Greek citizens who are 18 or over on the date of the election are eligible to vote, provided they are on the electoral register, unless:
*they are imprisoned for a criminal offence "and" they have been expressly deprived of the right to vote by judicial decision (this only happens in the rare cases of high treason or mutiny),
*they are mentally incapable of making a reasoned judgement, according to a judicial decision.

The Constitution provides after the amendment of 2001 for the right of Greek citizens living abroad to vote for the legislative elections. Nevertheless, no law implementing the constitutional provision has yet been passed.

Party system

Before 1910, Greece lacked a coherent party system in accordance with the traits of the modern representative democracy. The political formations of the 19th century lacked a steady organizational structure and a clear ideological orientation. Sometimes, they constituted just the incoherent and ephemeral escort of a prominent politician.

The first Greek parties with an ideological background, conforming to the modern conception of a political party, appeared after 1910, when Eleftherios Venizelos rose to predominance in Greek political life and founded his Liberal Party. The liberal wave of Venizelism resulted soon in the reaction of the "old-system" political leaders, who formed the core of an opposing conservative movement, which used the monarchy as its main rallying banner. Thereby, the two biggest ideological movements, the republican centrist-liberal and the monarchist conservative, emerged and formed massive political organizations. The centrist and the conservative parties bitterly confronted each other in the ensuing legislative elections for many decades, until metapolitefsi. After the "metapolitefsi" of 1974, the leftist-socialist movement supplanted the centrists and took the main part of their electorate. A smaller part of erstwhile centrists, along with most conservatives, affiliated themselves with the centre-right New Democracy party, which self-defined as a liberal party and drafted the republican Constitution of 1975.

Nowadays, Greece has a two-party system, which means that there are two dominant political parties, the liberal-conservative New Democracy (ND) and the socialist PASOK, with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party.

The left is mainly represented by the Communist Party of Greece and the Coalition of the Radical Left. Recent years have seen the gradual emergence of a staunchly conservative, populist party, the Popular Orthodox Rally, with a platform based on nationalistic, religious and immigration issues.

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Latest election

Election of the President of the Republic

The head of state - the President of the Hellenic Republic - is elected by Parliament for a five-year term, and a maximum of three terms in office. Eligible for President is any person who:
* has the Greek citizenship for at least 5 years,
* has a father or a mother of Greek origin,
* is 40 years old or more,
* is eligible to vote. When a presidential term expires, Parliament votes to elect the new President. In the first two votes, a 2/3 majority (200 votes) is necessary. The third and final vote requires a 3/5 (180 votes) majority. If the third vote is fruitless, Parliament is dissolved and elections are proclaimed by the outgoing President within the next 30 days. In the new Parliament, the election for President is repeated immediately with a 3/5 majority required for the initial vote, an absolute majority (151 votes) for the second one and a simple majority for the third and final one. The system is so designed as to promote consensus Presidential candidates among the main political parties.

Elected Presidents of the Third Hellenic Republic (1974-)

From-ToPresidentSupported byElected in the
June 19, 1975 - May 15, 1980 Constantine Tsatsosfirst vote
May 15, 1980 - March 10, 1985 Constantine Karamanlisthird vote
March 30, 1985 - May 4, 1990Christos Sartzetakis third vote
May 4, 1990 - March 10, 1995Constantine Karamanlis)
March 10, 1995 - March 11,2000Kostis Stephanopoulos third vote
March 11, 2000 - March 12,2005Kostis Stephanopoulos first vote
March 12, 2005 - March 13,2010Karolos Papoulias first vote

European Parliament elections

Since 1984, Greece is represented with 25 MEPs in the European Parliament.After 2004 that was reduced to 24 (due to the increase of the EU member countries). These MEPs are elected every 5 years on the basis of a Party-list proportional representation electoral system. Especially for the European elections the whole country forms a single electoral area (constituency).

Local elections

Local elections elect super-prefects, prefects, and mayors for the country's 3 super-prefectures, 54 prefectures, 900 municipalities and approximately 135 communities, as well as the councillors to serve on the super-prefectural, prefectural, municipal and community councils.

According to the current voting system, the poll-leading candidate (and her or his list) polling more than 42 percent of the vote in the first round of voting is elected to the public office they were contesting, "i.e." super-prefect, prefect, mayor (in a municipality) or president (in a community). If no candidate attains this percentage, a second round of voting takes place between the two poll-topping candidates from the first round. In elections at the community level there is no second round, "i.e." the election is won by the first past the post list. The 42 percent threshold was introduced in a legal reform of 2006. Previously, the threshold stood at 50 percent in the first round.

The first prefectural elections took place in 1994 (Law 2218/1994). Previously, prefects were executive appointees. In both municipal and prefectural elections, the winning candidacy list is guaranteed a minimum three-fifths majority in the respective councils.

Prefectural and municipal elections are held every four years, traditionally in October. The last local elections took place on October 15 2006.

Past local elections since 1974

*Greek local elections, 1974
*Greek local elections, 1978
*Greek local elections, 1982
*Greek local elections, 1986
*Greek local elections, 1990
*Greek local elections, 1994
*Greek local elections, 1998
*Greek local elections, 2002
*Greek local elections, 2006

Plebiscites

All the plebiscites conducted in Greece from 1920 to 1974 had to do with the form of government, namely the retention/reestablishment or abolition of monarchy.
The last plebiscite of 1974 is deemed final and conclusive with regards to the matter of the head of the Greek state and the choice of the constitutional model of the parliamentary republic, because of the overwhelming majority favoring the abolition of the monarchy and the free and fair manner in which the plebiscite was conducted.

The current Constitution provides for two kinds of referendums:
* a referendum concerning a "passed law"
* a referendum concerning a matter of "national interest".Nonetheless, these constitutional provisions have not yet been enacted.

ImageSize = width:680 height:450PlotArea = left:50 right:0 bottom:10 top:10

DateFormat = yyyyPeriod = from:1915 till:2000TimeAxis = orientation:vertical ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:10 start:1915

PlotData= color:green mark:(line, black) align:left fontsize:S shift:(25,0) # shift text to right side of bar

# there is no automatic collision detection, fontsize:XS # so shift texts up or down manually to avoid overlap shift:(25,-10)

at:1920 text:22 November 1920 - "Yes" for the reinstatement of Constantine I as head of state at:1924 text:13 April 1924 - "No" for the continuation of the reign of King George II as head of state at:1935 text:3 November 1935 -"Yes" for the reinstatement of George II as head of state at:1946 text:1 September 1946 - "Yes" for the reinstatement of George II as head of state at:1974 text:8 December 1974 - "No" for the reinstatement of Constantine II as head of state

*Greek plebiscite, 1920
*Greek plebiscite, 1924
*Greek plebiscite, 1935
*Greek plebiscite, 1946
*Greek plebiscite, 1973
*Greek plebiscite, 1974

ee also

* Electoral calendar
* Electoral system

Further reading

* cite journal
quotes =
last = Lyrintzis
first = Christos
authorlink =
coauthors =
date =
year = 2005
month = March
title = The Changing Party System: Stable Democracy, Contested 'Modernisation'
journal = West European Politics
volume = 28
issue = 2
pages = 242–259
issn =
pmid =
doi =
id =
url =
language =
format =
accessdate =
laysummary =
laysource =
laydate =
quote =

* cite journal
quotes =
last = Nicolacopoulos
first = Ilias
authorlink =
coauthors =
date =
year = 2005
month = March
title = Elections and Voters, 1974-2004: Old Cleavages and New Issues
journal = West European Politics
volume = 28
issue = 2
pages = 260–278
issn =
pmid =
doi =
id =
url =
language =
format =
accessdate =
laysummary =
laysource =
laydate =
quote =

External links

* [http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/g/greece/ Adam Carr's Election Archive]
* [http://www.parties-and-elections.de/greece.html parties and elections]
* [http://www.parliament.gr/english/synthesh/eklogikes.asp Greek constituencies]


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