Greece is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy. Greece (official name: Hellenic Republic) was a monarchy up to 1974.
President is the chief of state and is elected by parliament for a five-year term. President appoints the leader of the party securing plurality vote in election to become the Prime Minister for a four year term. Prime Minister is head of the government and also holds executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. Cabinet is approved by the President on recommendation of the Prime Minister.
The legislature is unicameral in Greece. The Hellenic Parliament (as it is called) has 300 members which are elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms. The people of Greece enjoy considerable political rights. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Prime Minister cannot dissolve the parliament. Greece has a system of compulsory voting, but it is weakly enforced.
The judiciary is largely independent in Greece and the constitution provides for public trials. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1975 (amended in 1986 and 2001). The legal system is based on codified Roman law. Greece being a member of the European Union, the national law in the country needs to comply with the conditions of the Community legislation. Greek is the judicial language in the country, having an interpreter is always possible.
The country is ruled by law. However, a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have raised concerns about ill treatment of detainees by law enforcement officials, especially concerning immigrants and members of religious minorities. Foreign nations can normally expect a fair trial from the country’s judicial system. A considerable degree of corruption exists in the country especially in police force and corporate sector – corruption in the country is the highest among the European Union members.
Major political parties
The main political parties in the country are:
- ND ( New Democracy) – conservative,
- PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) – social-democrat,
- KKE (Communist Party of Greece) – communist,
- SYN (Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology) – adical left.
Major political leaders
President: Karolos PAPOULIAS (since March 2005) – PASOK
Prime Minister: Konstandinos KARAMANLIS (since March 2004) – ND
Next political election dates
Presidential: February 2010
Parliamentary: March 2008