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Politics of Greece

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The Politics of Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

takes place in a large parliamentary
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 representative democratic
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Greece
Prime Minister of Greece
The Prime Minister of Greece , officially the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic , is the head of government of the Hellenic Republic and the leader of the Greek cabinet. The current interim Prime Minister is Lucas Papademos, a former Vice President of the European Central Bank, following...

 is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, and of a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Hellenic Parliament
Hellenic Parliament
The Hellenic Parliament , also the Parliament of the Hellenes, is the Parliament of Greece, located in the Parliament House , overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece....

. Since the restoration of democracy the party system is dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy
New Democracy (Greece)
New Democracy is the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties in Greece. It was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic...

 (Νέα Δημοκρατία – Nea Dimokratia) and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Panhellenic Socialist Movement
The Panhellenic Socialist Movement , known mostly by its acronym PASOK , is one of the two major political parties in Greece. Founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou, in 1981 PASOK became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in parliament.The party is a socialist party...

 (Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα – Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima). The Judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 is independent of the executive and the legislature.

The 1975 constitution, which describes Greece as a "presidential parliamentary republic", includes extensive specific guarantees of civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

 and vests the powers of the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 in a president elected by parliament. The Greek governmental structure is similar to that found in many other Western democracies
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, and has been described as a compromise between the French and German models. The prime minister and cabinet play the central role in the political process, while the president performs some executive and legislative functions in addition to ceremonial duties. Voting in Greece is compulsory but is not enforced.

Greek politics is often described as dynastic, with long-established political families controlling the positions of power. This is certainly true for the Prime Ministers, but there are many Ministers and Members of Parliament with no relation to political families.

Executive branch



|President
|Karolos Papoulias
Karolos Papoulias
-Honours:*Knight Grand Cross with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic *Knight Grand Cross of the Grand Order of King Tomislav *Knight of the Order of the Elephant- External links :*...


|Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Panhellenic Socialist Movement
The Panhellenic Socialist Movement , known mostly by its acronym PASOK , is one of the two major political parties in Greece. Founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou, in 1981 PASOK became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in parliament.The party is a socialist party...


|12 March 2005
|-
|Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Greece
The Prime Minister of Greece , officially the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic , is the head of government of the Hellenic Republic and the leader of the Greek cabinet. The current interim Prime Minister is Lucas Papademos, a former Vice President of the European Central Bank, following...


|Lucas Papademos
Lucas Papademos
Lucas Papademos is a Greek economist who has been appointed as Prime Minister of Greece since 11 November 2011.Previously, he was Governor of the Bank of Greece from 1994 to 2002 and Vice President of the European Central Bank from 2002 to 2010...


|Independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...


|11 November 2011
|}
The Cabinet of Greece
Cabinet of Greece
The cabinet of Greece , officially called the Ministerial Council , constitutes the Government of Greece. It is the collective decision-making body of the Hellenic Republic, composed of the Prime Minister and the Ministers...

 includes the heads of all executive ministries, appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

The President of the Republic is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term (election last held 7 March 2005), and a maximum of two terms in office. When a presidential term expires, Parliament votes to elect the new President. In the first two votes, a ⅔ majority (200 votes) is necessary. The third and final vote requires a 3/5 (180 votes) majority. If the third vote is fruitless, Parliament is dissolved and elections are proclaimed by the outgoing President within the next 30 days. In the new Parliament, the election for President is repeated immediately with a 3/5 majority required for the initial vote, an absolute majority for the second one (151 votes) and a simple majority for the third and final one. The system is so designed as to promote consensus Presidential candidates among the main political parties.
The president has the power to declare war, to grant pardon and to conclude agreements of peace, alliance, and participation in international organizations; upon the request of the government a simple parliamentary majority is required to ratify such actions, agreements, or treaties. An absolute or a three-fifths majority is required in exceptional cases (for example, the accession into the EU needed a 3/5 majority). The president can also exercise certain emergency powers, which must be countersigned by the appropriate cabinet minister. Changes to the constitution in 1986 limited the president's political powers. As a result, the president may not dissolve parliament, dismiss the government, suspend certain articles of the constitution, issue a proclamation or declare a state of siege without countersigning by the prime minister or the appropriate cabinet minister. To call a referendum, he must obtain approval from parliament.
The prime minister is elected by the people and he or she is usually the leader of the party controlling the absolute majority of Parliament members. According to the Constitution, the prime minister safeguards the unity of the government and directs its activities. He or she is the most powerful person of the Greek political system and recommends ministers to the President for appointment or dismissal.

Greek parliamentary politics hinge upon the principle of the "" , the "declared confidence" of Parliament to the Prime Minister and his/her administration. This means that the President of the Republic is bound to appoint as Prime Minister a person who will be approved by a majority of the Parliament's members (i.e. 151 votes). With the current electoral system, it is the leader of the party gaining a plurality of the votes in the Parliamentary elections who gets appointed Prime Minister. An administration may, at any time, seek a "vote of confidence"; conversely, a number of Members of Parliament may ask that a "vote of reproach" be taken. Both are rare occurrences with usually predictable outcomes as voting outside the party line happens very seldom.

On 4 October 2009, George Papandreou, president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Panhellenic Socialist Movement
The Panhellenic Socialist Movement , known mostly by its acronym PASOK , is one of the two major political parties in Greece. Founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou, in 1981 PASOK became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in parliament.The party is a socialist party...

 party and son and grandson of Prime Ministers, was elected
Greek legislative election, 2009
Parliamentary elections were held in Greece on 4 October 2009. An election was not required until September 2011.On 2 September Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis announced he would request President Karolos Papoulias to dissolve Parliament and call an election...

 as the new Prime Minister of Greece
Prime Minister of Greece
The Prime Minister of Greece , officially the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic , is the head of government of the Hellenic Republic and the leader of the Greek cabinet. The current interim Prime Minister is Lucas Papademos, a former Vice President of the European Central Bank, following...

, following five years of government under New Democracy
New Democracy (Greece)
New Democracy is the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties in Greece. It was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic...

 leader Kostas Karamanlis, the nephew of long-time Prime Minister and President Konstantinos Karamanlis.

Legislative branch


Greece elects a legislature by universal suffrage of all citizens over the age of 18. The Greek Parliament (Βουλή των Ελλήνων) has 300 members, elected for a four-year term by a system of reinforced proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 in 48 multi-seat constituencies, 8 single-seat constituencies and a single nationwide list. 288 of the 300 seats are determined by constituency voting, and voters may select the candidate or candidates of their choice by marking their name on the party ballot. The remaining 12 seats are filled from nationwide party lists on a top-down basis and based on the proportion of the total vote each party received.
Greece uses a complex reinforced proportional representation electoral system which discourages splinter parties and makes a parliamentary majority possible even if the leading party falls short of a majority of the popular vote. Under the current electoral law, any single party must receive at least a 3% nationwide vote tally in order to elect Members of Parliament (the so-called "3% threshold"). The law in its current form favors the first past the post party to achieve an absolute (151 parliamentary seats) majority, provided it receives a 41%+ nationwide vote. This is touted to enhance governmental stability. The electoral law can be changed by simple parliamentary majority, but a law so changed only becomes enforced in the election following the upcoming one, unless it is voted by the Greek Parliament with a majority of ⅔ of the total number of the deputies.

Political parties and leaders


From the 1977 election
Greek legislative election, 1977
In the Greek legislative election, 1977, Prime Minister, Constantine Karamanlis, called for early elections. His party, New Democracy, suffered a significant loss of power, but, nevertheless, Karamanlis managed to secure an absolute majority in the Parliament. The big surprise was the success of...

 until a national unity government was formed in 2011, Greece was ruled alternatively
Two-party system
A two-party system is a system where two major political parties dominate voting in nearly all elections at every level of government and, as a result, all or nearly all elected offices are members of one of the two major parties...

 by New Democracy
New Democracy (Greece)
New Democracy is the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties in Greece. It was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic...

 and PASOK, being the two major political parties.

Judicial branch



In Greece the judicial branch is divided into civil and administrative courts. Civil courts judge civil and penal cases, whereas administrative courts judge administrative cases, namely disputes between the citizens and the State.

The judicial system of Greece comprises three Supreme Courts: the Court of Cassation
Court of Cassation (Greece)
The Court of Cassation is the Supreme Court of Greece for civil and criminal law. The Court of Cassation's decisions are irrevocable. If the Court of Cassation concludes that a lower court violated the law or the principles of the procedure, then it can order the rehearing of the case by the lower...

 (Άρειος Πάγος), the Council of State
Council of State (Greece)
In Greece, the Council of State is the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece.-Organization:...

 (Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) and the Chamber of Accounts
Chamber of Accounts (Greece)
In Greece, the Chamber of Accounts is both an administrative organ and a Supreme Administrative Court with a special jurisdiction...

 (Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο). These high courts are composed of professional judges, graduates of the National School of Judges. The way the judges are gradually promoted, until they become members of the Supreme Courts, is defined by the Constitution and the existing laws. The presidents and the vice-presidents of the three Supreme Courts are chosen by the Cabinet of Greece
Cabinet of Greece
The cabinet of Greece , officially called the Ministerial Council , constitutes the Government of Greece. It is the collective decision-making body of the Hellenic Republic, composed of the Prime Minister and the Ministers...

 among the serving members of each of the Supreme Courts.

The Court of Cassation
Court of Cassation (Greece)
The Court of Cassation is the Supreme Court of Greece for civil and criminal law. The Court of Cassation's decisions are irrevocable. If the Court of Cassation concludes that a lower court violated the law or the principles of the procedure, then it can order the rehearing of the case by the lower...

 is the supreme civil and penal court, whereas the Council of State
Council of State (Greece)
In Greece, the Council of State is the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece.-Organization:...

 is the supreme administrative court. The Chamber of Accounts
Chamber of Accounts (Greece)
In Greece, the Chamber of Accounts is both an administrative organ and a Supreme Administrative Court with a special jurisdiction...

 has an exclusive jurisdiction
Exclusive jurisdiction
In civil procedure, exclusive jurisdiction exists where one court has the power to adjudicate a case to the exclusion of all other courts. It is the opposite situation from concurrent jurisdiction, in which more than one court may take jurisdiction over the case.Exclusive jurisdiction is typically...

 over certain administrative areas (for example it judges disputes arising from the legislation regulating the pensions of civil servants) and its decisions are irrevocable. This means that they are not judged at second instance by the Council of State
Council of State (Greece)
In Greece, the Council of State is the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece.-Organization:...

.

Sometimes, the Supreme Courts take contradictory decisions or they judge differently the constitutionality of a legal provision. These disputes are resolved by the Supreme Special Court
Supreme Special Court (Greece)
In Greece, the Supreme Special Court is provided for in the article 100 of the Constitution of Greece. It is not a permanent court and it sits only when a case belonging to its special competence arises. It is regarded as the supreme "constitutional" and "electoral" court of Greece. Its decisions...

, whose composition and jurisdiction is regulated by the Constitution (article 100). As its name reveals, this court is not permanent and it sits when a special case belonging to its jurisdiction arises. When the Supreme Special Court
Supreme Special Court (Greece)
In Greece, the Supreme Special Court is provided for in the article 100 of the Constitution of Greece. It is not a permanent court and it sits only when a case belonging to its special competence arises. It is regarded as the supreme "constitutional" and "electoral" court of Greece. Its decisions...

 sits, it comprises eleven members: the Presidents of the three Supreme Courts, four members of the Court of Cassation
Court of Cassation (Greece)
The Court of Cassation is the Supreme Court of Greece for civil and criminal law. The Court of Cassation's decisions are irrevocable. If the Court of Cassation concludes that a lower court violated the law or the principles of the procedure, then it can order the rehearing of the case by the lower...

 and four members of the Council of State
Council of State (Greece)
In Greece, the Council of State is the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece.-Organization:...

. When it judges the constitutionality of a law or resolves the disputes between Supreme Courts, its composition comprises two more members: two professors of the Law Schools of Greece. The Supreme Special Court
Supreme Special Court (Greece)
In Greece, the Supreme Special Court is provided for in the article 100 of the Constitution of Greece. It is not a permanent court and it sits only when a case belonging to its special competence arises. It is regarded as the supreme "constitutional" and "electoral" court of Greece. Its decisions...

 is the only court which can declare an unconstitutional legal provision as "powerless" (something like "null and void"), while the three Supreme Courts can only declare an unconstitutional legal provision as "inapplicable" to that particular case. The Supreme Special Court
Supreme Special Court (Greece)
In Greece, the Supreme Special Court is provided for in the article 100 of the Constitution of Greece. It is not a permanent court and it sits only when a case belonging to its special competence arises. It is regarded as the supreme "constitutional" and "electoral" court of Greece. Its decisions...

 is also the Supreme Electoral Court, judging pleas against the legality of the legislative elections.

Administrative divisions


Greece is divided in 13 peripheries
Peripheries of Greece
The current official regional administrative divisions of Greece were instituted in 1987. Although best translated into English as "regions", the transcription peripheries is sometimes used, perhaps to distinguish them from the traditional regions which they replaced. The English word 'periphery'...

, further divided into 51 prefectures
Prefectures of Greece
During the first administrative division of independent Greece in 1833–1836 and then again from 1845 until their abolition with the Kallikratis reform in 2010, the prefectures were the country's main administrative unit...

, the "Nomoi". The prefectures are each headed by a prefect (the "Nomarch"), who is elected by direct popular vote. The thirteen regional administrative districts (peripheries
Peripheries of Greece
The current official regional administrative divisions of Greece were instituted in 1987. Although best translated into English as "regions", the transcription peripheries is sometimes used, perhaps to distinguish them from the traditional regions which they replaced. The English word 'periphery'...

), each including a number of prefectures are headed by a regional governor (the "Peripheriarch"), appointed by the Minister of the Interior. In northern Greece and in greater Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, three areas have an additional administrative position between the nomarch and peripheriarch. This official, known as the Chair of the prefectural local authorities or "superprefect" (the "Hypernomarch"), is elected by direct popular vote together with the nomarchs she or he supervises. Although municipalities and villages have elected officials, they do not have an adequate independent revenue base and must depend on the central government budget for a large part of their financial needs. Consequently they are subject to numerous central government controls. This also leads to extremely low municipal taxes (usually around 0.2% or less).

Greece also includes one autonomous region, the Monastic
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 Community of the Holy Mountain, Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

.

International organization participation


Greece is member of the Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CE
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, EU, FAO, G- 6, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

, ICC
International Chamber of Commerce
The International Chamber of Commerce is the largest, most representative business organization in the world. Its hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 130 countries have interests spanning every sector of private enterprise....

, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol
Interpol
Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation...

, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SECI
Southeast European Cooperative Initiative
The Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, or the SECI, has been an initiative that, under the auspices of men like Erhard Busek and Richard Schifter, has been successful in providing stability in an unstable region and has found support in international organizations and countries...

, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNOMIG, UPU, WCO
World Customs Organization
The World Customs Organization is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is recognized as the voice of the global customs community...

, WEU, WFTU, WHO
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, Zangger Committee
Zangger Committee
The Zangger Committee, also known as the Nuclear Exporters Committee, sprang from Article III.2 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons which entered into force on March 5, 1970...


Former



  • Alexandros Mavrokordatos
  • Ioannis Kapodistrias
    Ioannis Kapodistrias
    Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias |Academy of Athens]] Critical Observations about the 6th-Grade History Textbook"): "3.2.7. Σελ. 40: Δεν αναφέρεται ότι ο Καποδίστριας ήταν Κερκυραίος ευγενής." "...δύο ιστορικούς της Aκαδημίας κ.κ...

  • Spyridon Trikoupis
  • Andreas Metaxas
    Andreas Metaxas
    Andreas Metaxas was a Greek politician born on the island of Cephalonia.During the latter part of the War of Independence he accompanied Kapodistrias to Greece, and was appointed by him Minister of War...

  • Dimitrios Kallergis
  • Alexandros Koumoundouros
    Alexandros Koumoundouros
    Alexandros Koumoundouros was a Greek politician. Born in Kampos Avias located in the Messenian side of the Mani Peninsula, he was the son of Spirìdonas-Galànis Koumoundoùros who was the Bey of the area during the last period of the administration of the region by the Ottoman Empire.He was a...

  • Epameinondas Deligiorgis
  • Charilaos Trikoupis
    Charilaos Trikoupis
    Charilaos Trikoupis was a Greek politician who served as a Prime Minister of Greece seven times from 1875 until 1895....

  • Theodoros Deligiannis
    Theodoros Deligiannis
    Theodoros Deligiannis, also spelled Delijannis and Deliyannis, , was a Greek statesman.-Life:He was born at Lagkadia, Arcadia. He studied law in Athens, and in 1843 entered the Ministry of the Interior, of which department he became permanent secretary in 1859. In 1862, on the deposition of King...

  • Alexandros Rizos Rangavis
  • Alexandros Zaimis
    Alexandros Zaimis
    Alexandros Zaimis was a former Greek Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Justice, and High Commissioner of Crete. He served as Prime Minister six times.-Early Life and Family:...

  • Georgios Christakis-Zografos
    Georgios Christakis-Zografos
    Georgios Christakis-Zografos was a Greek politician, minister of foreign affairs and president of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus .-Studies & early career:...

  • Georgios Theotokis
    Georgios Theotokis
    Georgios Theotokis was a Greek politician and four times Prime Minister of Greece. He represented the New Party or Neoteristikon Komma .- Biography :...

  • Stephanos Dragoumis
    Stephanos Dragoumis
    Stephanos Dragoumis was a judge, writer and Prime Minister of Greece in January-October 1910. He was the father of Ion Dragoumis.-Early years:...

  • Ion Dragoumis
    Ion Dragoumis
    Ion Dragoumis was a Greek diplomat, writer and revolutionary.Born in Athens, Dragoumis was the son of Stephanos Dragoumis who was foreign minister under Charilaos Trikoupis. The family originated in Vogatsiko in Kastoria...

  • Eleftherios Venizelos
    Eleftherios Venizelos
    Eleftherios Venizelos was an eminent Greek revolutionary, a prominent and illustrious statesman as well as a charismatic leader in the early 20th century. Elected several times as Prime Minister of Greece and served from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1932...

  • Dimitrios Gounaris
    Dimitrios Gounaris
    Dimitrios Gounaris was the Prime Minister of Greece from March 10, 1915 to August 23, 1915 and April 8, 1921 to May 16, 1922...


  • Ioannis Metaxas
    Ioannis Metaxas
    Ioannis Metaxas was a Greek general, politician, and dictator, serving as Prime Minister of Greece from 1936 until his death in 1941...

  • Alexandros Papanastasiou
    Alexandros Papanastasiou
    Alexandros Papanastasiou was a Greek politician, sociologist and Prime Minister.- Early years :Papanastasiou was the son of Member of Parliament Panagiotis Papanastasiou. He spent part of his childhood in Kalamata and Piraeus...

  • Themistoklis Sofoulis
  • Nikos Zachariadis
  • Sofoklis Venizelos
  • Georgios Papandreou
  • Ilias Iliou
    Ilias Iliou
    Ilias Iliou was a Greek lawyer and politician, member of the Greek Parliament and leader of the United Democratic Left . He was also a distinguished writer and jurist.- Early years :...

  • Alexandros Panagoulis
    Alexandros Panagoulis
    Alexandros Panagoulis was a Greek politician and poet. He took an active role in the fight against the Regime of the Colonels in Greece. He became famous for his attempt to assassinate dictator Georgios Papadopoulos on 13 August 1968, but also for the torture that he was subjected to during his...

  • Panagiotis Kanellopoulos
    Panagiotis Kanellopoulos
    Panagiotis Kanellopoulos or Panayotis Kanellopoulos was a distinguished Greek politician and Prime Minister of Greece. He was the Prime Minister of Greece deposed by the Greek military junta of 1967-1974....

  • Spyros Markezinis
  • Konstantinos Karamanlis
  • Evangelos Averoff
    Evangelos Averoff
    Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas was a distinguished right-wing Greek politician of Aromanian origin and author of several books on political and historical topics....

  • Leonidas Kyrkos
    Leonidas Kyrkos
    Leonidas Kyrkos was a Greek leftist politician and member of the Hellenic Parliament and the European Parliament.-Life:...

  • Andreas Papandreou
    Andreas Papandreou
    Andreas G. Papandreou ; 5 February 1919 – 23 June 1996) was a Greek economist, a socialist politician and a dominant figure in Greek politics. The son of Georgios Papandreou, Andreas was a Harvard-trained academic...

  • Georgios Rallis
  • Konstantinos Mitsotakis

Current



  • Dimitris Avramopoulos
    Dimitris Avramopoulos
    Dimitris Avramopoulos is a Greek politician and diplomat. He was Mayor of Athens for eight years.-Personal information:He was born in Athens in 1953. He originated from Ilia, Arkadia. He served his military service in the Greek Air Force , based in Athens and in the NATO Headquarters in Brussels....

  • Dora Bakoyannis
    Dora Bakoyannis
    Dora Bakoyannis , born Theodora Mitsotaki , is a Greek politician. From 2006 to 2009 she was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, the highest position ever held by a woman in the Cabinet of Greece; she was also Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in...

  • Michalis Chrisochoidis
  • Maria Damanaki
    Maria Damanaki
    Maria Damanaki is a Greek politician, former president of the Synaspismos party of the radical left and currently a state member of the Hellenic Parliament within the Panhellenic Socialist Movement ....

  • Anna Diamantopoulou
    Anna Diamantopoulou
    Anna Diamantopoulou , is a Member of Parliament in Greece for the party of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement and the current Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs in Greece...

  • Stavros Dimas
    Stavros Dimas
    Stavros Dimas is a Greek politician who was European Commissioner for the Environment from 2004 to 2009. Since November 2011, he has served in the government of Greece as Minister for Foreign Affairs.-Early career:...

  • Adonis Georgiades
    Adonis Georgiades
    Adonis Georgiadis or Spyridon -Adonis Georgiadis, as his full name is , is a Greek right-wing politician, historian, publisher, and author. He served as the spokesman for the right-wing/nationalist Popular Orthodox Rally political party until August 2007...

  • Manolis Glezos
    Manolis Glezos
    Manolis Glezos is a Greek left wing politician and writer, worldwide known especially for his participation in the World War II resistance.- 1939 - 1945 :...

  • Kostis Hatzidakis
  • Kostas Karamanlis
  • Stefanos Manos
    Stefanos Manos
    Stefanos Manos is a Greek politician, former member of the Hellenic Parliament as independent, and a former government minister. His political career started in the New Democracy party, for which he became a Member of Parliament in 1977. During the 1980s he would be the unpopular forerunner of...

  • Apostolos Kaklamanis
    Apostolos Kaklamanis
    Apostolos Kaklamanis is a Greek politician and member of the Greek Parliament for the Panhellenic Socialist Movement for the Athens B constituency....

  • Liana Kanelli
    Liana Kanelli
    Garyfallia Kanelli , commonly known as Liana Kanelli , is a Greek journalist and Member of the Greek Parliament for the Communist Party of Greece since 2000....

  • Georgios Karatzaferis
    Georgios Karatzaferis
    Georgios Karatzaferis is a Greek politician, a member of the Hellenic Parliament and the president of the Popular Orthodox Rally. Previously, Karatzaferis was a member of parliament of the liberal-conservative New Democracy party, from which he was expelled in 2000...


  • Nikos Konstantopoulos
    Nikos Konstantopoulos
    Nikos Konstantopoulos is a Greek politician, member of the Hellenic Parliament and former president of the left-wing Synaspismos.Born in 1942 in the village of Krestena, near Olympia, Konstantopoulos studied law in the University of Athens...

  • Fotis Kouvelis
  • Andreas Loverdos
    Andreas Loverdos
    Andreas Loverdos is a Greek politician and the current Minister for Health and Social Solidarity.-Early life:Andeas Loverdos was born on 15 May 1956, in Patras, Greece. He graduated from the Law School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1978...

  • Petros Molyviatis
    Petros Molyviatis
    Petros G. Molyviatis is a Greek politician, and from 2004 to 2006 was the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs.Born in Chios, he studied Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and entered the Greek Foreign Ministry after graduation...

  • Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou
  • George Papandreou
    George Papandreou
    Georgios A. Papandreou , commonly anglicised to George and shortened to Γιώργος in Greek, is a Greek politician who served as Prime Minister of Greece following his party's victory in the 2009 legislative election...

  • Aleka Papariga
    Aleka Papariga
    Alexandra "Aleka" Papariga is a communist Greek politician who has served the Communist Party of Greece as its General Secretary since 1991. She is the first woman to head a political party in Greece.- Early years :...

  • Theodoros Pangalos
    Theodoros Pangalos
    Theodoros Pangalos is a Greek politician and leading member of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. He currently serves as the Vice-President of the Greek government, responsible for the coordination of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense and the new Economic & Social Policy...

  • Karolos Papoulias
    Karolos Papoulias
    -Honours:*Knight Grand Cross with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic *Knight Grand Cross of the Grand Order of King Tomislav *Knight of the Order of the Elephant- External links :*...

  • Antonis Samaras
    Antonis Samaras
    Antonis Samaras is a Greek economist and politician who has been leader of New Democracy, Greece's major conservative party and main opposition party, since 2009. A Member of Parliament for Messenia, he was Minister of Finance in 1989, then Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1990 and again...

  • Costas Simitis
    Costas Simitis
    Konstantinos Simitis , usually referred to as Costas Simitis or Kostas Simitis, was Prime Minister of Greece and leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement from 1996 to 2004.- Biography :...

  • Alexis Tsipras
    Alexis Tsipras
    Alexis Tsipras is a Greek left wing politician, member of the Hellenic parliament, president of the Synaspismos political party and head of SYRIZA parliamentary group.-Early life and career:Tsipras was born July 28, 1974, in Athens....

  • Evangelos Venizelos
    Evangelos Venizelos
    Evangelos Venizelos is a Greek politician, currently Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Greece since 17 June 2011...


Education


Under the Greek constitution, education is the responsibility of the state. Most Greeks attend public primary and secondary schools. There are a few private schools, which must meet the standard curriculum of and are supervised by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education oversees and directs every aspect of the public education process at all levels, including hiring all teachers and professors and producing all required textbooks.

A recent issue concerning education in Greece is the institutionalisation of private universities. According to the constitution only state-run universities operate on the land. However,in the recent years many foreign private universities have established branches in Greece, offering Bachelor's level degrees, thus creating a legal contradiction between the Greek constitution and the EU laws allowing foreign companies to operate anywhere in the Union. Additionally, every year, tens of thousands of Greek students are not accepted to the state-run University system and become "educational immigrants" to other countries' Higher Education institutions, where they move to study. This has created a chronic problem for Greece, in terms of loss of capital as well as human resources, since many of those students opt to seek employment in the countries they studied, after completing their studies. It is characteristic that in 2006, Greece, with 11.5 million inhabitants, was fourth in the world in terms of student export in absolute numbers, with 60,000 students abroad, while the first country in this regard, People's Republic of China of over 1,3 billion inhabitants, had 100,000 students abroad. In terms of students abroad as a percent of the general population, Greece is by far the leading country, with 5,250 students per million, compared to second Malaysia's 1,780 students per million inhabitants.

Citing these problems as a result of the state's monopoly on Higher Education, New Democracy
New Democracy (Greece)
New Democracy is the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties in Greece. It was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic...

 committed to amending the constitution, in order to allow private universities to operate in Greece on a non-profit basis. This proposal was rejected by then-ruling PASOK
Panhellenic Socialist Movement
The Panhellenic Socialist Movement , known mostly by its acronym PASOK , is one of the two major political parties in Greece. Founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou, in 1981 PASOK became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in parliament.The party is a socialist party...

 in the late nineties, and thus could not muster the support necessary to be put to vote on the constitutional amendment of 2001. However, PASOK has since changed its stance, and now also supports a constitutional provision for the creation of private Universities on a non-profit basis. This proposal continues to encounter the fierce opposition of the Left parties and part of the academic community, both professors and students.

At the outset of 2006, prime minister Kostas Karamanlis announced the initiative of his government for a new amendment of the Constitution
Constitution of Greece
The Constitution of Greece , was created by the Fifth Revisional Parliament of the Hellenes and entered into force in 1975. It has been revised three times since, most significantly in 1986, and also in 2001 and in 2008. The Constitutional history of Greece goes back to the Greek War of...

. According to his assertion one of the main issues of this amendment (the second within less than 10 years) is going to be the creation of "non-state owned" universities.

Religion


The Greek Orthodox Church
Church of Greece
The Church of Greece , part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 is under the protection of the State, which pays the clergy's salaries, and Orthodox Christianity
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 is the "prevailing" religion of Greece according to the Constitution. The Greek Orthodox Church is self-governing but under the spiritual guidance of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. Freedom of religious beliefs is guaranteed by the Constitution, but "proselytism
Proselytism
Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytize is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος...

" is officially illegal. According to the most recent Eurostat "Eurobarometer" poll, in 2005, 81% of Greek citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 16% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and only 3% that "they do not believe there is a God, spirit, nor life force". This would make Greece one of the most religious countries in the European Union of 25 members, after Malta and Cyprus.

The Muslim minority, concentrated in Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

, was given legal status by provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne
Treaty of Lausanne
The Treaty of Lausanne was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 July 1923, that settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire. The treaty of Lausanne was ratified by the Greek government on 11 February 1924, by the Turkish government on 31...

 in 1923 and is Greece's only officially recognized religious minority. There are small Roman Catholic communities on some of the Cyclades
Cyclades
The Cyclades is a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece; and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around the sacred island of Delos...

 and the Ionian Islands, remnants of the long Venetian
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 rule over the islands. The recent influx of (mostly illegal) immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Third World has an expectedly varied multi-religious profile (Roman Catholic, Muslim, Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 etc.).

During the 2001 constitutional amendment, complete separation of church and state was proposed, but the two major parties, ND
ND
- Places :* North Dakota, a state in the United States* New Delhi * Notre Dame , for a number of churches and colleges- Science and medicine :* Neodymium, an element with the symbol "Nd"...

 and PASOK
Panhellenic Socialist Movement
The Panhellenic Socialist Movement , known mostly by its acronym PASOK , is one of the two major political parties in Greece. Founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou, in 1981 PASOK became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in parliament.The party is a socialist party...

, decided not to open this controversial matter, which clashes with both the population and the clergy. For example, numerous protests occurred over the removal of the Religious Denomination entry from the National ID card in 2000.

Media


The Greek media, collectively, is a very influential institution – usually aggressive, sensationalist. As with many countries, most of the media are owned by businesses with commercial interests in other sectors of the economy. There are often accusations of newspapers, magazines, and radio and television channels being used to promote their commercial enterprises as well as to seek political influence.

In 1994, the Ministry of Press and Media
Minister for the Press and the Media (Greece)
The Minister for the Press and the Media of Greece was the government minister responsible for the running of the Ministry of the Press and the Media.The ministry is now defunct.-Ministers for the Press and the Media :...

 was established to deal with media and communication issues. ERT S.A.
Elliniki Radiofonia Tileorasi
The Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation is the Greek state-owned public radio and television broadcasting corporation. It is a member of EBU.Since 70's ERT is part of the Eurovision Song Contest, organized by EBU...

, a public corporation supervised by the Minister of Press, operates three national television channels and five national radio channels. The Minister of Press also serves as the primary government spokesperson.

The Secretary General of Press and Information prepares the semi-official Athens News Agency (ANA) Bulletin. Along with AP
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 and Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

, this is a primary source of information for the Greek press. The Ministry of Press and Information also issues the semi-official Macedonian News Agency (MPE) Bulletin, which is distributed throughout the Balkan region. For international news, CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 is a particular influence in the Greek market; the major television channels often use it as a source. State and private television stations also use Eurovision
European Broadcasting Union
The European Broadcasting Union is a confederation of 74 broadcasting organisations from 56 countries, and 49 associate broadcasters from a further 25...

 and Visnews
Visnews
Visnews was a London-based international news agency. By 1992 it was owned by NBC News , BBC and Reuters, until Reuters bought out the remaining shares of the company that year...

 as sources. While few papers and stations have overseas correspondents, those few correspondents abroad can be very influential.

In 1988, a new law provided the legal framework for the establishment of private radio stations and, in 1989, private television stations. According to the law, supervision of radio and television is exercised by the National Radio and Television Council. In practice, however, official licensing has been delayed for many years. Because of this, there has been a proliferation of private radio and television stations, as well as European satellite channels, including Euronews
EuroNews
Euronews is an international multilingual news television channel.It covers world news from what it claims to be a 'European' perspective.Criticisms are that the perspective is in fact that of the European Commission - a major and growing funder of Euronews....

. More than 1,000 radio stations were operating before March 2002, when the government implemented plans to reallocate television frequencies and issue licenses as authorized by the 1993 Media Law, effectively reducing this number.

In 2011, the government proposed new measures that will restrict the freedom of speech in the internet. According to some proposals, every individual who would like to use free platforms, such like Blogspot or Wordpress
WordPress
WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and publishing platform powered by PHP and MySQL. It is often customized into a content management system . It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by over 14.7% of Alexa Internet's "top 1...

 will be forced to get officially registered in the courts, as due to tough austerity measures web sites that criticize the government and the political system in general have been multiplied.

Military Service



9 months for all males of 18 years of age; Compulsory with fines and imprisonment if denied, but neither fine nor imprisonment has been imposed since 1994, where the last warrant against a draft-dodger was issued. Members of families with 3 children serve a reduced time of 6 months. Military service can also be substituted with a longer public service, which by the standards of Amnesty International, ought to be considered punitive as it is twice as long as the regular tour of duty. Limited steps have been taken to turn the Greek military into a semi-professional army in the last years, leading to the gradual reduction of the service from 18 to 12 to 9 months and the inclusion of a greater number of professional military personnel in most vertices of the force. Recent developments, though, within the anti-conscription movement in Greece, such as the high death rate from suicides during service and work-related accidents, such as the Manitsa incident, combined with a high rate of draft-dodging, have advanced the idea that mandatory conscription should be abolished and an all-professional/all-volunteer army should be put in place.

Military spending


Greece directs approximately 4.3% of its GDP to military expenditures, the 2nd highest percentage in Europe (behind the Republic of Macedonia). In absolute numbers the Greek military budget ranked 28th in the world in 2005. By the same measure, Greek military budget ranked 6th in the Mediterranean basin (behind France, Italy, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Israel and Spain) and 2nd (behind Turkey) in its immediate vicinity, the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. It must be noted that Greek arms purchasing is among the highest in the world: Greece ranked 3rd in the world in 2004.

These figures are explained in the light of the arms race
Arms race
The term arms race, in its original usage, describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation...

 between Greece and Turkey with key issues being the Cyprus dispute
Cyprus dispute
The Cyprus dispute is the result of the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus....

 and disagreement over sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 of certain islets of the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. For more information see Greco-Turkish relations
Greco-Turkish relations
The relations between the Greek and the Turkish states have been marked by alternating periods of mutual hostility and reconciliation ever since Greece won its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821...

. Reversly, the foreign relations of Greece as well as many internal policy decisions are largely affected by its arms purchases. The United States, being the major arms seller to Greece has been known to actively intervene in military spending decisions made by the Greek government. The US has at times actively stepped in to help avoid large scale crisis, as in the case of the Imia-Kardak crisis.

The reduction of military spending has long been an issue in Greek politics. The former prime minister, Kostas Karamanlis had proposed a reduction to military spending through a "Defence Eurozone", referring to the European Security and Defence Policy
European Security and Defence Policy
The Common Security and Defence Policy , formerly known as the European Security and Defence Policy , is a major element of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union and is the domain of EU policy covering defence and military aspects...

. The previous PASOK
Panhellenic Socialist Movement
The Panhellenic Socialist Movement , known mostly by its acronym PASOK , is one of the two major political parties in Greece. Founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou, in 1981 PASOK became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in parliament.The party is a socialist party...

 administration, also planned on reducing military spending prior to its failure to be re-elected in 2004, while PASOK politicians usually refer to money saved from reducing military spending as a "peace dividend" ("μέρισμα ειρήνης"). The parties of the Left, KKE and Synaspismos, have been vocal in condemning military spending. Regarding the purchase of 30 F-16 and 333 Leopard tank
Leopard 2
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve...

s in 2005, both parties criticized the New Democracy
New Democracy (Greece)
New Democracy is the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties in Greece. It was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic...

 administration for spending money on weapons while doing nothing to relieve the lower classes and said that high military spending "does not correspond to the real needs of the country but is carried out according to NATO planning and to serve weapon manufacturers and the countries that host them".

External links