How Greece’s Bailout Referendum Will Be Held: The Process



How a Greek Referendum is Held

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced during the early hours of Saturday that Greece will hold a referendum on Sunday July 5.

According to the cabinet proposal, voters will be asked to respond to the following question:
“Greek people are hereby asked to decide whether they accept a draft agreement document submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, at the Eurogroup meeting held on June 25.”

Those citizens who reject the institutions’ proposal will vote, “Not Approved / NO”, while those citizens who accept the institutions’ proposal will vote, “Approved / YES”, according to the cabinet proposal.

Holding a referendum in Greece is a process defined by the 44th article of the Greek constitution and is further elaborated by law 4023, which has been in effect since October 2011. Though PM Tsipras announced his government’s intention to hold the referendum, in order for it to actually happen there are a number of institutional steps that need to take place first.

The referendum is proposed by the cabinet and takes the form of a question, the answer to which would be affirmative, negative, or in a form that has been previously established by the Greek Parliament. The referendum can be either on “crucial national matters” or on a pre-existing law. In this case the proposed question does not concern a pre-existing law and is therefore considered a “crucial national matter”.

The Cabinet will submit the proposed referendum question to the Greek Parliament, which will have to ratify it or reject it. The Parliament will convene to decide on the proposed referendum on Saturday, June 27 at 12 p.m. Since the referendum is on a “crucial national matter” a parliamentary majority, thus 151 of the 300 parliament members, is required for its ratification.

Should the parliament ratify the referendum, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, will then officially call for the referendum to take place on July 5.

Those eligible to vote on the referendum must be Greek citizens and within Greece’s borders when the vote takes place. That effectively means that Greeks who are abroad during the day of the referendum are not eligible to vote. Voter turnout has to reach at least 40% for a “crucial national matters” referendum result to be considered legitimate.

The process will take place in voting booths through secret ballot in a similar manner to general elections. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on July 5 while the results will be announced the following day.