Greek PM Samaras Proposes Constitutional Changes

World | May 8, 2014, Thursday // 13:39
Bulgaria: Greek PM Samaras Proposes Constitutional Changes Greek Prime Minister Andonis Samaras. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Andonis Samaras, Greece's Prime Minister, has proposed that changes be introduced into the constitution envisaging direct presidential elections and a reduced number of MPs.

Other ideas of Samaras include the establishment of a three-fifths MP majority to change the voting system and also setting a limit to the number of terms in office for the Prime Minister, local governors, mayors and trade union leaders, as Greece's daily Kathimerini reports.

Changes promoting ministerial accountability and transparency of political parties are also on the agenda, according to the Prime Minister's proposals.

The President, a largely ceremonial figure in Greece, is elected by Parliament under current legislation.

As for the number of MPs, reports cited by Kathimerini suggest Parliament seats could be reduced to 200 from the current 300.

Samaras has also stressed that Greece "needs a new architecture" and added an official procedure will be launched on September 3 enabling the country's next Parliament to start revising the constitution.

He was quoted as saying at conference of his party, New Democracy, that the country had "lagged behind" because it had kept to the "model of state planning", which prompted the need for external loans and, finally, to the collapsing of the economy.

Next general elections are scheduled for 2016.

For the upcoming EU vote this May, however, the parties government, the conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK, are facing a significant challenge by Alexis Tsipras' SYRIZA coalition, to which some polls predict victory.

Greece has struggled to keep afloat after a six-year-long austerity program carried out as part of bailout deal with international lenders. Tough measures have led the country's economy to a 25% contraction since 2008.

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Tags: greece, Andonis Samaras, Samaras, Athens, constitution, changes, parliament, president, elections, austerity, bailout, Prime Minister, New Democracy, PASOK
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