Greece: Procedures for the election of the President of the Republic start officially

Greece: Procedures for the election of the President of the Republic start officially

Athens, December 4, 2014 / Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The calendar for the dates for the election of a new President of the Republic is expected to set the speaker of the House Vangelis Meimarakis during his meeting on Thursday with current president Karolos Papoulias.

According to parliamentary sources, the chairman of the House, who is responsible under the Constitution to launch the start of the procedure, will inform the President about his intentions.

Under the Constitution, the presidential election process should be started at least one month before the expiry of his term. This means that the first vote should start the latest on February 12, after Papoulias mandate expires on March 13.

The process is known: In accordance with Article 32, President of the Republic is elected the person receiving a majority of two thirds (200) of the total number of MPs.

If this majority is not attained, the ballot shall be repeated after five days and if they fail to elect a president again then a third voting will follow after another five days have passed, in which most 3/5 of the total number of MPs will be required – the famous majority of 180. If the typical schedule is followed the last voting will be on February 22.

If this increased majority is not achieved on the third voting, then the House is dissolved within ten days of the voting, and elections are proclaimed for a new Parliament. The date will be March 4 and in accordance with the Constitution, the dissolution of Parliament and the calling of elections requires 30 days, setting the election date to April 5, 2015.

The House that will emerged from the elections (one must take into consideration the probability of a lack of a complete majority), must within 30 days set up a body and elect a new president with 180 votes.

If this majority is not reached, the vote shall be repeated within five days and as President of the Republic is elected the person who will receive an absolute majority of all the MPs. If still a majority is not reached, the vote is repeated once more, after five days, between the two persons who got the most votes and as President of the Republic is elected the person who will receive a relative majority. This means that if the time limits are kept, we arrive at May 15, i.e. two months after the end of Karolos Papoulias’ mandate.

An extension of the tenure of the president is, however, constitutionally provided: “If the procedure for electing a new President is not completed on time, the incumbent President of the Republic continues to hold office after the expiry of his term until a new President is elected”, says the article 32 section 6.

Therefore, if the government and the chairman of the House do not want have such a great extension of the mandate (something neither Karolos Papoulias would want) the procedures should be accelerated, in order to set the first vote by January 20 2015. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister has talked about starting the proceedings in February, his colleagues speak in private for January as well, something which is linked with the developments in the negotiations with the troika.