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Diamandouros re-elected EU Ombudsman

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The European Parliament (EP) re-elected Nikiforos Diamandouros as European Ombudsman with 340 votes out of a total of 648 valid votes cast.
Diamandouros was first elected to the post on April 1, 2003 and this will be his third term as European Ombudsman.
“I am very grateful for the support of the European Parliament and for this vote of confidence in my work.
I look forward to continuing my efforts to improve the quality of the EU administration and to promote a culture of service in the EU institutions for the benefit of European citizens”said Diamandouros, who was the first to hold the post of National Ombudsman in Greece.

Greece’s New Parliament Sworn in

Greece's new 300-member parliament that emerged from the October 4 general elections was sworn-in on Wednesday morning, in a special ceremony in the unicameral House. (ANA-MPA/Aliki Eleftheriou)

Greece's new 300-member parliament that emerged from the October 4 general elections was sworn-in on Wednesday morning, in a special ceremony in the unicameral House. (ANA-MPA/Aliki Eleftheriou)

(ANA)  Greece’s new 300-member parliament that emerged from the October 4 general elections was sworn-in on Wednesday morning, in a special ceremony in the unicameral House.  The swearing-in took place after the traditional blessing, officiated by Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.  “I swear in the name of the Holy Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity to keep faith in my Country and in the democratic form of government, obedience to the Constitution and the laws and to discharge conscientiously my duties,” the MPs pledged, with the exception of PASOK MPs Nikos Sifounakis, Maria Damanaki, Spyros Kouvelis and Maya Tsokli, and the MPs of the two Left parties, while the two Muslim deputies elected on the main opposition PASOK party’s tickets in Xanthi and Rodopi took a similar oath with their hand on the Koran.  The MPs of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), with the exception Liana Kanelli, did not take a religious oath, while the MPs of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) did not attend the religious party of the ceremony.  The KKE and SYRIZA parliamentary groups submitted letters to the parliament presidium endorsing a political oath instead of the religious oath, which is set out in the Greek constitution.  Ruling PASOK holds 160 seats in the new parliament, followed by main opposition New Democracy (ND) with 91 seats, the KKE with 21 seats, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) with 15 seats, and SYRIZA with 13 seats.

Greece: Parliamentary Election, October 4

» New Mandate

(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.

» Electoral Process

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.

» Voting System

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.

» Electoral Body

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.

ELECTION BACKGROUND INFO – LINKS

» Supreme Court of Civil and Penal Law:

Political Parties Taking Part in the National Elections 2009

» Ministry of Interior

Elections Information

» Previous Elections Results (2004 – 2009):

EU Election Results 2009 National Elections Results 2007

EU Elections Results 2004 National Elections Results 2004

Greece: Political Leaders’ TV Debate

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) With pre-election fever soaring, the leaders of all political parties which are currently represented in the Hellenic and European Parliaments, competing for the October 4 national elections, will participate tonight (September 21) in a televised debate to be broadcast at 20:00 by ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation).

A panel of journalists will pose questions on six topics: the economy, the environment, public administration, work and social policy, education, and foreign policy.   There will be two rounds of questions with three topics each and at the end of each round Party leaders will have the opportunity to pose one question to each other, without however being able to comment on the reply.   A second debate, between Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and main opposition Party leaderGeorge Papandreou, is also scheduled for tomorrow (September 22).  Political Parties represented at the televised debate: New Democracy: en.nd.gr; Panhellenic Social Movementwww.pasok.gr; Communist Party of Greece: inter.kke.gr; Coalition of the Left and Ecologywww.syn.gr; Popular Orthodox Rallywww.laos.gr; Ecologist Greens:www.ecogreens.gr Secretariat General for Information: About Greece- Government and Politics

Greece: Parliament’s Disolution Ahead o the Elections

karapapoulias1(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias received yesterday (September 3) the Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis at the Presidential Mansion.  Karamanlis formally requested the President’s approval to dissolve the parliament on Monday. The decision to call early elections on October 4 “was made to serve the nation’s interest,” Karamanlis said following talks with Papoulias who gave his consent adding that decisions of such kind belong to the Prime Minister and should point to the people’s best interest.  The Prime Minister stressed that the reasons for this decision are strictly linked to the challenge of dealing with the global economic slump and its ramifications on the Greek economy. “The following two years are decisive for the Greek economy and especially 2010,” the premier concluded.  After the meeting, Karamanlis chaired an Inner Cabinet meeting and asked his ministers to resign. Official pre-election period opens on Monday September 7, in view of October 4 parliamentary elections.   Kathimerini Daily: PM appeals to voters as date set for elections; Secretariat General of Information – About Greece: Political System and Elections in Greece 

Greece Honours French Stateman

Valery Giscard d'Estaing(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  French statesman Valery Giscard d’Estaing was presented yesterday with the “Award for Parliamentarism and Democrac” – the highest honour bestowed by the Hellenic Parliament to influential international figures. The 2009 award was handed to d’Estaing by Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas in a ceremony held in the Greek Parliament’s portico, attended by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, ministers, politicians, artists and academics.  Sioufas described the former French president as “a unique, great European visionary, an ally of Greece, a philhellene,” who not only assisted in the restoration of democracy in Greece, in 1974 but, crucially supported Greece’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC).

Vice Presidents at the European Parliament

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The European Parliament elected Tuesday, July 15,  its new presidium. MEPs elected Jerzy Buzek to be the new European Parliament President with 555 votes in favour (or 86.18 % of the valid votes). The 69-year-old Polish MEP will lead the European Parliament for two and a half years (until January 2012).  Amongst the 14 vice presidents of the 736-seat institution, representing 492 million citizens from 27 countries, two Greeks were elected on the first round of voting. Rodi-Kratsa Tsagaropoulou from the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) received 355 votes and Stavros Lambrinidis representing the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats received 348 votes.