Electoral law change hits wall

PASOK’s aim of submitting to Parliament during its first 100 days a bill that would change Greece’s electoral law seems to have evaporated after some members of the government as well as the main opposition New Democracy party expressed opposition to the proposals. The Socialists had intended to submit at least four major bills to Parliament during their first 100 days in office, a milestone set to be reached next week. However, only one has reached the House so far and it seems that an attempt to reform the electoral law is also going to have to be put on hold for the time being. PASOK wants to change the current electoral law of reinforced proportionality. Currently there are 57 electoral districts where parties draw up a list of candidates from which voters can pick up to four. Prime Minister George Papandreou believes this system allows MPs to be beholden to constituents who offer their support in return for favors. Instead, he wants a system of 160 to 170 single-seat districts, which will equate to about 50,000 voters per constituency. PASOK is hoping to convince ND to back the law so it can get the votes of the 200 deputies that are needed for it to apply as of the next general elections. However, the conservatives indicated yesterday they are not in favor. «There does not seem to be any agreement on the changes to the electoral law,» said ND leader Antonis Samaras. «So I am asking for cross-party negotiations to take place, starting from square one.» PASOK MP Nasos Alevras was among those from within the government camp who said the electoral law needs to change but that the government’s proposals do not hit the mark. «Adopting the German model willy-nilly proves that sometimes we cannot see the wood for the trees,» he said.

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