Sunday December 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
A crippled Constitution

By Angelos Stangos

February 2015 looms as a turning point for the country as Parliament’s election of a new president will test the stability of the government and, by extension, that of the country as a whole. Just like a leap year that comes around every four years and adds another day to February, so the election of the president of the Greek Republic every five years presents the opposition with the opportunity to force snap elections. Whether there is a real need for this or not seems to be almost irrelevant as every party that has ever been in the main opposition in Greece feels compelled to say “no” to everything.

This is how it is traditionally done. It is what the people expect. To the opposition it appears to be the only way to speed up its ascent to government and that is what every opposition party has felt is the normal way to behave during presidential elections. It is clear that SYRIZA does not intend to become the exception to the rule. Its handling of the Public Power Corporation privatization issue as it tries to rally the votes it needs to trigger a referendum on it is effectively strategic planning so that it can later block the election of a new president and trigger snap national polls. The party is trying to rally 120 deputies to reject any candidate put forward to succeed Karolos Papoulias, regardless of who that person is. The government is also pursuing a similar strategy by trying to get together the 180 votes it needs to clinch victory for its own candidate, even though it has yet to announce who it will be.

What is abundantly clear is that such machinations completely undermine the institution of the presidency even though the president is head of state, albeit with limited powers. The political class has debased the presidential election into a power game between the parties, when the point of the constitutional procedure for the election is the creation for a broad majority. The Constitution, however, has been crippled by the behavior of the political class. In the 1975 Constitution, the president had a lot more powers than is the case today and general elections could not be triggered unless a candidate was rejected by MPs after three rounds of voting, with a majority of 200 in the 300-MP House required in the first round and 180 in the second and third. In the 1986 revision, prompted of PASOK, the president’s powers were significantly reduced. No one, however, thought to change the election procedure so that a simple majority of 151 were enough to elect a president whose only job is to preside. This simple change would have saved the country a lot of trouble.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday Jul 10, 2014 (10:24)  
The big picture
Get your facts straight
New weapons of diplomacy
Oblivious to change
Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
The government over the weekend appeared to backpedal on proposed amendments widely seen as compromising legislation protecting Greek forests as well as Plaka, Athens’s old quarter. The bill...
Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
Merchant Marine Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis and Deputy Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos have signed a decision paving the way for the country’s first hydroplan...
Inside News
Workers rush to get early retirement
Nine out of 10 workers who retired in the last four months who had belonged to the former special funds of banks and state corporations that have now been incorporated in the Social Security...
Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
Piraeus Container Terminal, the local subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco Pacific, is expected to handle a total of over 3 million containers in the January-December period of this year. The J...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
SOCCER
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal announced his retirement from football on Friday, a day before his last match. Abidal said he will finish after playing for Olympiakos agains...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
2. Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Police gets new communications system
5. Most Greeks say they recycle daily
6. Probe into revenues of 2 mln euros in Halkidiki municipality
more news
Today
This Week
1. Get your facts straight
2. The big picture
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
5. Changes on E9 property declarations possible until end-year
6. Police gets new communications system
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. High stakes
5. On the edge but not gutless
6. Gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy closing, says poll
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.