Government open to changes in the electoral law

Government open to changes in the electoral law

Athens, July 12, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The government appears open to discussion on the electoral law – always within the framework of proportional representation, which is the firm position of SYRIZA – even including the reduction of the 3% threshold for entry to parliament.

As government sources told the Athens News Agency, the government tabled its proposal for a 3% threshold in the framework of a common denominator that emerged after talks with other party leaders such as PASOK and Potami. However, as these two parties refuse to enter discussion with a view to backing its proposal, the government states it is open to any discussion. “We will see how the discussion shapes from now on” they mention, adding that indeed there is ongoing debate in the competent Committee of the Parliament, where there is scope for dialogue.

Recall that earlier, after meeting with the Prime Minister, the independent MP of Achaia, Nikos Nikolopoulos, said in a statement on the proposal tabled by the Prime Minister to abolish the 3% threshold that he is leaving the Maximos Mansion optimistic “because the Prime Minister did not reject our proposal and said he would consider it very seriously”. When asked if the PM seemed optimistic of gathering the 200 votes he needs, he replied: “I think there is room and perhaps perhaps if he examines the proposal of the Christian Democratic party, many may indeed think again.”

The independent MP had said he told the Prime Minister that “the most brave step” must be made by removing the 3% and in particular by setting a condition that a party must get 1% to enter parliament and at least 1% in many of the 7 administrative regions of Greece while simultaneously with the adoption of the law, moving voting rights to another region must be disallowed. This, the MP said, would prevent the possibility of a purely minority party entering Greek parliament.

In addition, the statements by Mr. Nikolopoulos confirmed that he would give his vote to change the electoral law: “And we will do it as exponents of the traditional center-right,” he said, adding that there are many who began at New Democracy and “we now feel homeless” – therefore, “changing the electoral law will allow us to express ourselves without making concessions”.

The electoral law and constitutional reform, social policy issues and planning for the course of legislative work, were among issues discussed in a meeting held earlier in parliament chaired by Alexis Tsipras and attended by government officials and his aides.

“We are moving normally,” emphasized government sources on the subject of electoral law, noting that those who do not back the government bill for simple proportional representation “are prisoners of their own tactics which is their problem”.

Discussion also focused on constitutional reform and the course of this issue, with the same sources mentioning that there will be public initiatives immediately.

Furthermore, social policy issues were discussed on which it was decided that preparation and another meeting will be held. According to the same source, there was information that the TV licensing tender is developing normally.

During the meeting there was planning for the course of legislative work. At different stages of programming are: the electoral law, the bill for hydrocarbons, the bill on public procurements, the bill for online crime, the bill for the social economy, and an omnibus bill of the Defense Ministry.