(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Seeking a fresh mandate, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis announced on September 2 an early parliamentary election for October 4. The convocation of the new Parliament in regular session is to be held on October 14. After the elections, the President of the Republic shall appoint the Prime Minister and on his recommendation shall appoint the other members of the Cabinet and the Deputy Ministers.
The electoral process is regulated by the 1975 Greek Constitution (revised in 2001), as well as relevant electoral legislation, recently codified by presidential decree 96/2007. The Greek Parliament is composed of a single chamber, with 300 members elected for a four-year term. 288 of the 300 deputies are elected from 56 constituencies, while the remaining 12 State Deputies seats are allocated on a top-down basis, according to the total share of the vote each party receives.
The leader of the party having the absolute majority of seats in Parliament is appointed Prime Minister. If no party has the absolute majority, the President of the Republic gives the leader of the party with a relative majority an exploratory mandate in order to ascertain the possibility of forming a government enjoying the confidence of the Parliament. If this possibility cannot be ascertained, the President of the Republic gives the exploratory mandate to the leader of the second largest party in Parliament, and if this proves to be unsuccessful, to the leader of the third largest party in Parliament. Each exploratory mandate is in force for three days. If all exploratory mandates prove to be unsuccessful, the President of the Republic summons all party leaders, and if the impossibility to form a Cabinet enjoying the confidence of the Parliament is confirmed, s/he attempts to form a Cabinet composed of all parties in Parliament for the purpose of holding parliamentary elections anew.
Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected by direct, universal and secret ballot. The electoral law 3231/2004 is more proportional than ever before, and retains the so-called “3% threshold” provision that any single party must receive nationwide in order to be represented in Parliament.
A premium of 40 parliamentary seats is allocated directly to the “first past the post” party or coalition of parties. The remaining 260 seats are distributed proportionally, according to each party’s total share of the vote. A rather complex set of rules deals with rounding decimal results up or down and ensures that the smaller a constituency is, the more strictly proportional its parliamentary representation will be.
Public Opinion Polls
According to recent legislation (“Opinion Polls” Law 3603/2007), the publication or broadcasting of public opinion polls on voting intentions is prohibited in the last 15 days prior to Election Day, which is always on a Sunday. Exit Polls are allowed on Election Day, but results can only become public after polls close.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 9,835,007 (5,076,727 women, 4,758,280 men) citizens have the right to vote, while 245,866 people will vote for the first time. All Greek citizens who are 18 years or over on the date of the election have the right to vote, provided they are on the electoral register and have the legal capacity to vote.
Zappeion Press Centre
A special Elections Press Centre is set up by the Secretariat General of Information at the Zappeion Hall, one of the outstanding memorial edifices in Athens. Zappeion, a conference and exhibition facility, is in central Athens, in an extension of the National Park near the Parliament building, Syntagma (Constitution) Square, the Presidential Mansion, and the Maximos Mansion, which houses the offices of the Prime Minister. Secretariat General of Information: National Elections 2009 – Media Informatio-Accreditation
Election Results Website
Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization website: National Elections, will be updated to reflect the results of the election to be held on October 4, 2009.