NEWS

Coalition leaders consider plan to reduce number of MPs by 50

The reduction of the number of lawmakers in Greek Parliament from 300 to 250 was one of the subjects discussed on Saturday by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Deputy Premier Evangelos Venizelos when the pair met at the Maximos Mansion, Kathimerini understands.

Both men are known to favor a change to the number of MPs sitting in the House. Samaras has in the past suggested that the number should drop to 200. The government believes that opening this issue up to public debate before the European Parliament and local elections in May could encourage disinterested or frustrated voters to reengage with the political process.

The idea of reducing the number of deputies has been part of the political debate for well over a decade but there has never been any substantial progress on the issue. The government now wants to publish a set of proposals on the matter before the elections, which will be held on May 18 and 25.

Kathimerini understands that Venizelos supports the idea but is not so keen on Samaras’s proposal that a 50-member elected senate should also be created.

The New Democracy and PASOK leaders also discussed changing the voting system for the European Parliament vote on May 25. The coalition has said it wants to switch from a closed list method to preferential voting. It is likely that there will be no electoral districts, just one nationwide vote and that voters will be able to put crosses next to as many as four candidates of their choice.

However, the government needs Parliament’s approval before it can change the electoral system. As things stand, a qualified majority of 180 votes would be needed for the switch to be given the green light. Sources said that the Interior Ministry’s legal advisors are examining if there is a way for the change in voting method to be approved by a simple parliamentary majority, which the government could muster as it has 153 seats.

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