MPs vote to amend Greek constitution

MPs vote to amend Greek constitution

Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis and main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras exchanged barbs in parliament on Monday, as part of the debate in the House of the process to revise the Greek constitution.

Nine key amendments concerning 28 articles of Greece’s constitution were approved.

In his speech, Mitsotakis told MPs that the new constitution will be a product of cross-party consensus and will not bear the stamp of a mere ruling majority. The PM said the country was taking “one more democratic step” through the pivotal democratic process of constitutional review.

In turn, addressing the House, main opposition SYRIZA party leader accused the “parties of the old political system” of blocking any attempt to revise the constitution in a way that favors every citizen. The former PM was scathing in his attack on “the political forces who forced article 86 into the constitution to secure their impunity” and restrict the right to strike, among other things.

Tsipras argued that ruling New Democracy had no plan for the constitional review, besides its intention to entrench neoliberalism in the constitutional text, education, the environment and more.

“Mr Tsipras, your proposals are not being rejected today by ND’s parliamentary group,” Mitsotakis responded. “They were rejected by the Greek people on July 7,” he said, adding that his government had approached the challenge of constitutional revision “in a different way to SYRIZA.”

The revised articles will, among other things, grant voting rights to diaspora Greeks from their place of permanent residence; separate the election of a president of the Hellenic Republic from the dissolution of Parliament; set a minimum guaranteed income; and amend a law granting immunity to ministers facing prosecution for criminal offenses.

Moreover, members of independent authorities will be elected with a three-fifth majority in the conference of parliament presidents, instead of a four-fifth majority that is currently required; while a minimum of 500,000 citizens could petition parliament to discuss legislative proposals on issues other than fiscal, foreign or defense policy./ibna