Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday called for changes to the country's Constitution that included, among others, changes to the way the president is elected, expanding the use of referendums and limiting the parliamentary terms of lawmakers, during a debate on the constitutional revision.
“The constitutional revision is the most important institutional process of parliamentary democracy. It reflects the will for changes and reforms that express and justify popular demands of the majority,” he told MPs.
He proceeded to highlight the revisions that the government has tabled: Disconnecting the election of a new president from the dissolution of parliament; establish the direct election of the president from the people, if the parliament fails to do so in seven consecutive votes; the prime minister should be an elected deputy so that power is not transferred “to any technocrat;” establishing a specific number of four-year parliamentary terms for each lawmaker; amending the “despicable” Article 86 which regulates the immunities of government ministers from prosecution; changing church-state relations by explicitly establishing the neutrality of the state and the establishment of the civil oath.
Specifically on Article 86 on MP immunity, Tsipras said it symbolizes “the transformation of political staff into a caste” which believes that it is “entitled to special privileges and special judicial treatment in relation to all other citizens.”
Tsipras also proposed making it obligatory to ratify every international treaty which hands over sovereign powers to international organizations through a referendum and widening their use.