Electoral tweak to bolster one party

The party that wins the general elections will be awarded an extra 50 seats in Parliament, according to plans that seek to ensure single-party rule which were approved by the Inner Cabinet yesterday. Under the government’s proposal, the first party past the post would be awarded a bonus of 50 rather than 40 seats, as is currently the case. However, the draft law stipulates that a single party would be eligible for this bonus ahead of any coalition. So, if a coalition of two or more parties were to gain 42 percent of the vote and a single party gained 40 percent, it would be the latter that would be awarded the extra 50 seats. The proposed amendment to the electoral law aims to give the winning party a larger working majority if it fails to score a big victory at the polls. New Democracy currently has a majority of just two seats in Parliament but under the new law, and based on September’s election results, it would have a majority of eight. PASOK, which came in second, would have four fewer seats. The bill, which has been drawn up by the Interior Ministry, also proposes that a third of each party’s candidates for Parliament should be women. If voted through Parliament, the new electoral law would come into effect in the general elections that follow the next ones. The Communist Party and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) objected to the planned change. PASOK leader George Papandreou is expected to launch his attack on the government today.