Greek PM Samaras Proposes Constitutional Changes

revision-constitution-SamarasGreek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras proposed amendments to the Greek Constitution at a Wednesday event organized by the Konstantinos Karamanlis Foundation.

The main points presented comprised the direct election of the Greek President by the people, and giving the president greater supervisory powers, as well as fewer MPs in Parliament but with strengthened roles, and a constant voting system that may be altered only by a three-fifths parliamentary majority.

He also proposed setting term limits for prime ministers, regional governors, mayors and labor union members, as well as the establishment of private universities in Greece.

Samaras also called for three new permanent deputy ministers’ positions (Foreign Affairs, Defense, Finance), and a permanent Constitutional Court, as well as the separation between the positions of elected MP and minister, while also addressing reform of financial governance by proposing a special chamber of the Greek Council of State be set up to audit major state contracts.

All proposals, Samaras said. aimed to enhance the functioning of the public sector, while fighting corruption and bringing more transparency to all state activity.

Samaras pointed out that it is the Greek people rather than his party, New Democracy, calling for Constitutional reform, leaving the suggestions open to debate.

The Greek PM also directly attacked Alexis Tsipras, accusing the leader of Greece’s main opposition party SYRIZA of being passive, claiming that “they want to maintain the pathogenesis of the Greek state, because without a crisis they won’t have anything.”

“The current Constitution has run its course, as has the era of the memoranda,” Samaras said in his speech, and added, “The country needs a new foundation,” setting September 3 as the official start date for debate on the amendments. The existing Constitution entered into force in 1975, and has been revised three times since, in 1986, in 2001 and in 2008.

New Democracy will look at all suggestions by Greece’s political parties, Samaras underlined.