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New OSCE PA President: Petros Efthymiou

Ruling PASOK party deputy Petros Efthymiou was elected as the new president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), during the forum’s 19th annual session.
Efthymiou, who was a Vice-President in the Assembly, was elected with 130 votes, against 64 of Senator Consiglio Di Nino (Canada).
Participants at the 19th session discussed a wide range of issues, amongst which the situation in Kyrgyzstan, the Parliamentary Assembly’s involvement in the Corfu process, the peace process in the Middle East, nuclear security, cyber-crime.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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PM George Papandreou at the Council of Europe

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasburg on Tuesday where he initially referred at length to globalisation and its effect on the world, before detailing Athens’ positions on a variety of issues of Greek and regional interest, including Greek-Turkish relations, respect of international rules, Turkey’s European orientation as well as the financial crisis, the Cyprus issue, human rights and the role of the European Council.
 In his speech, Papandreou stressed the government’s steadfastness to face the economic crisis, stating that “we are determined to put our house in order.”
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Report (26.1.2010)  

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

Bakoyannis at OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis visited Lithuania on June 30, on the occasion of the 18the annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.   Speaking before the Assembly, Bakoyannis focused on three issues: the need to take the OSCE forward in the economic and environmental dimension; the objective of building lasting stability and security in Georgia; the process of launching a new high-level dialogue on European security.  In Lithuania, Bakoyannis also held bilateral talks with the political leadership of the country (photo), who expressed support for the “Corfu Process” launched last weekend. The minister will visit two of the OSCE’s most important missions in Baku and Yerevan today.

Greek CiO at OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Chairperson-in-Office Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said modesty, consolidation and time were needed for a successful conclusion to the discussion on how to develop the European security architecture in a speech delivered at an OSCE Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Vienna yesterday. Noting that the issue had been discussed between the 56 Foreign Ministers participating in the December 2008 OSCE Ministerial Council in Helsinki, Bakoyannis said the debate so far had confirmed that the OSCE is the natural platform for pan-European discussion. She said three principles could help guide the discussions. “The first is modesty. We have come a long way since the Cold War. Walls have been torn down and families reunited. But the job is not done. Some participating States feel that we have not yet overcome all dividing lines in Europe. So let us take every invitation to dialogue seriously,” she said. The second principle was consolidation: “As we consider new initiatives, let us build on the ground that we have cleared already,” Bakoyannis said. The final principle was to proceed slowly, she noted, keeping in mind that the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, which led to the creation of the OSCE, was preceded by lengthy discussions including 2,400 meetings and deliberations on 4,660 proposals. “We should take the time required to prepare a positive agenda, to consider all options and consult widely,” she said. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Opening Speech of Dora Bakoyannis at the Winter Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and  Statements of FM Bakoyannis on the margins of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly