Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited the President of the Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Monday afternoon to ask him to officially dissolve the Greek Parliament.
In a long-lasting tradition, Greek Premiers visit the President in the Presidential Palace in Athens and, normally using a reason concerning national security or the economy as a political pretext, they ask the President to dissolve Parliament and determine the day of the next national elections.
Tsipras said in front of the cameras that following the results of the European Elections, the country entered a long ”pre-election phase”, something that could ”put the Greek economy in danger”. For this reason, the PM asked the President to dissolve the Parliament.
President Pavlopoulos said that he accepts the Prime Minister’s demand, thus, a Presidential decree is about to be issued.
The meeting took place fourteen days after the governing left-wing SYRIZA party lost to the opposition conservative New Democracy (ND) party by 9.35 percentage points in the European elections.
That very night, Tsipras announced that he intended to hold snap national elections, instead of waiting for his normal tenure to finish this autumn.
All 300 seats in the country’s Parliament will be contested in the upcoming polls. It will be the first national election in Greece in which the voting age will be lowered to seventeen instead of eighteen years of age.
Greece now holds the second-lowest age limit for voting in the EU. Austrians vote from the age of sixteen, Greeks from seventeen and the rest of the EU citizens vote when they are eighteen.
This is the first time that the number of parliamentary constituencies will be different as well, as they increased from 56 to 59. This is occurring because the once-enormous “Athens B” district is now divided into smaller constituencies.
The electoral system that the country follows is a complex version of the proportional system.
Two hundred and thirty-one seats from a total of 300 are elected in multi-seat constituencies proportionally; 50 seats are then awarded to the largest party or coalition as a bonus.
Twelve seats are elected as a single national multi-seat constituency and seven seats are elected in single-seat constituencies, effectively having the “First-Past-the-Post” system which is used in the UK.