Electoral law stands

There are no plans to change Greece’s electoral law in order to strengthen the winning party’s presence in Parliament, the government said yesterday, after suggestions by some senior New Democracy figures that the system should be reviewed. The idea of changing the electoral law has been put forward in recent days by, among others, Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, ND party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis and the conservative party’s honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis. However, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros assured journalists yesterday that the politicians in question had expressed such views in the past and the government had not suddenly embarked on any campaign to change the law. He referred to previous comments by Premier Costas Karamanlis who said that he did not plan to spring any sudden changes in the electoral law on his political opponents. PASOK, though, appeared displeased with the references to changing the electoral law, which it passed in 2004. Antonaros accused the Socialists of «overreacting» because they are worried about losing any upcoming elections, as the changes that have been proposed would increase the winning party’s power. «The government is not worried because it will win the next elections,» he said. Greece currently operates a reinforced proportionality system, which means the party that wins the elections is guaranteed an absolute majority of 151 seats in Parliament, as long as it receives at least 41 percent of the vote. A party must also garner at least 3 percent of the nationwide vote to elect an MP. The system is seen as providing greater political stability as it means that the government has a working majority in Parliament and does not have to form alliances with smaller parties. The law can be changed if it is approved by a majority of MPs but would only be applicable after the upcoming elections.