Parliament completes constitutional revision approving nine changes

Parliament completes constitutional revision approving nine changes

Greek lawmakers approved on Monday evening nine major constitutional amendments out of a total of 49 proposed by all the parties during the procedure, including allowing diaspora Greeks to vote from their country of residence, separating the president’s election from the dissolution of Parliament and amending a law granting immunity to ministers facing prosecution.

The changes concern 28 articles of the Greek Constitution.

With the new amendments, lawmakers will no longer have immunity from prosecution for criminal offenses and the members of independent authorities will be elected with a three-fifth majority in the conference of presidents (the body tasked with the appointments), instead of the previous requirement for a four-fifth majority.

Furthermore, in a first for the Greek Constitution, citizens will be able to submit up to two legislative proposals for discussion in Parliament, provided they garner a minimum of 500,000 signatures. These bills, however, will not relate to issues of fiscal and foreign policy, or defense.

Another approved amendment will guarantee a minimum income for families “to ensure dignified living conditions for all citizens,” according to the legislation. 

The revision started by the previous leftist SYRIZA administration in 2018 and included a proposal to separate the Greek state from the Church – a move that was rejected by New Democracy.

On the other hand, ND wanted to change Article 16 of the Constitution which bans the operation of private universities, but the move was shot down by SYRIZA.

This was the fourth attempt to make changes to the country’s Constitution after 1975 when the first Constitution of the post-dictatorship era was voted into force.

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