NEWS

Constitutional reform proposals see changes to presidential election, lifting of MPs’ immunity

The election of the president by popular mandate, the abolition of MPs’ immunity from prosecution and the reduction of the number of deputies serving in Parliament are but some of the proposals put together by a New Democracy committee for constitutional reform.

For the election of the president of the republic, the committee proposes that candidates who fail to gather the super-majority required in Parliament be put up for election by popular mandate. It would also see the president enjoying extended powers, though not the right to dissolve Parliament.

Ministers and parliamentary deputies, meanwhile, would not enjoy immunity from prosecution in the event that they are charged with a crime. Ministers accused of crimes related to breach of duty would be referred directly to a council of judges and a special court rather than on the recommendations of a Parliamentary committee, while in case of charges unrelated to their duties, they would be prosecuted according to the usual procedures that apply to all citizens.

MPs would also be stripped of their immunity from prosecution unless the charges brought against them are related to their political activities and then only in the event that a Parliamentary committee approves a motion for protection.

The committee further proposes that the number of deputies serving in the House be reduced from the current 300 to 200, adding that MPs would not be allowed to serve concurrently as ministers.

The committee on Tuesday sent its recommendations to party leader and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is expected to convene a meeting for finalizing the proposals on Thursday before they can be submitted to Parliament for deliberation.