THE CONSTITUTION OF GREECE
As revised by the parliamentary resolution
of April 6th 2001
of the VIIth Revisionary Parliament
Professor, Law Faculty, Athens University;
President of the Scientific Council
President of the Hellenic Association of Constitutionalists
Professor emeritus, Law Faculty, Athens University;
Member of the Academy of Athens;
Member of the Scientific Council,
LL.M., S.J.D., Research Fellow, Directorate of Studies
LL.M., Research Fellow, Directorate of Studies
© Copyright 2004 Hellenic Parliament
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Greek citizens possessing the right to vote may freely found and join political parties, the organization and activity of which must serve the free functioning of democratic government. Citizens who have not yet acquired the right to vote may participate in youth sections of parties.
**2. Political parties are entitled to receive financial support by the State for their electoral and operating expenses, as specified by law. A statute shall specify the guarantees of transparency concerning electoral expenses and, in general, the financial management of political parties, of Members of Parliament, parliamentary candidates and candidates for all degrees of local government. A statute shall impose the maximum limit of electoral expenses, may prohibit certain forms of pre-electoral promotion and shall specify the conditions under which violation of the relevant provisions constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of parliamentary office on the initiative of the special body of the following section. The audit of the electoral expenses of political parties and parliamentary candidates is carried out by a special body which is constituted also with the participation of senior judicial functionaries, as specified by law. A law may also extend these regulations to candidates for other offices held through election.
**3. Manifestations of any nature whatsoever in favour of or against a political party by judicial functionaries and by those serving in the armed forces and the security corps, are absolutely prohibited. In the exercise of their duties, manifestations of any nature whatsoever in favour of or against a political party by public servants, employees of local government agencies, of other public law legal persons or of public enterprises or of enterprises of local government agencies or of enterprises whose management is directly or indirectly appointed by the State, by administrative act or by virtue of its capacity as shareholder, are absolutely prohibited.
The President of the Republic
Election of the President
1. The President of the Republic shall regulate the function of the institutions of the Republic. He shall be elected by Parliament for a term of five years, as specified in articles 32 and 33.
2. The office of the President shall be incompatible with any other office, position or function.
3. The presidential tenure commences upon the swearing-in of the President.
4. In case of war, the presidential tenure shall be extended until termination of the war.
5. Re-election of the same person as President is permitted only once.
President of the Republic may be elected a person who is a Greek citizen for at least five years, is of Greek descent from the father’s or mother’s line, has attained the age of forty and has the capacity to vote.
*1. The President of the Republic shall be elected by the Parliament through vote by roll call in a special sitting called for this purpose by the Speaker at least one month before the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent President, as specified by the Standing Orders. In case of permanent incapacity of the President of the Republic to discharge his duties, as specified in paragraph 2 of article 34, as well as in case of his resignation, demise, or removal from office in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the sitting of Parliament in order to elect a new President is called within ten days at the latest from the premature termination of the tenure of office by the previous President.
2. In all cases, the election of a President shall be made for a full term.
3. The person receiving a two-thirds majority of the total number of Members of Parliament shall be elected President of the Republic. Should the said majority not be attained, the ballot shall be repeated after five days. Should the second ballot fail to produce the required majority, the ballot shall once more be repeated after five days; the person receiving a three-fifths majority of the total number of Members of Parliament shall be elected President of the Republic.
*4. Should the third ballot fail to produce the said qualified majority, Parliament shall be dissolved within ten days of the ballot, and elections for a new Parliament shall be called. As soon as the Parliament thus elected shall have constituted itself as a body, it shall proceed through vote by roll call to elect the resident of the Republic by a three-fifths majority of the total number of Members of Parliament. Should the said majority not be attained, the ballot shall be repeated within five days and the person receiving an absolute majority of the votes of the total number of Members of Parliament shall be elected President of the Republic. Should this majority also not be attained, the ballot shall once more be repeated after five days between the two persons with the highest number of votes, and the person receiving a relative majority shall be deemed elected President of the Republic.
5. Should the Parliament be absent, a special session shall be convoked to elect the President of the Republic, as specified in paragraph 4. If the Parliament has been dissolved in any way whatsoever, the election of the President of the Republic shall be postponed until the new Parliament shall have constituted itself as a body and within twenty days at the latest thereof, as specified in paragraphs 3 and 4 and in adherence with the provisions of paragraph 1 of article 34.
6. Should the procedure specified under the preceding paragraphs for the election of a new President not be completed on time, the incumbent President of the Republic shall continue to discharge his duties even after his term of office has expired, until a new President of the Republic is elected.
Interpretative clause: A President of the Republic who has resigned prior to the expiration of his tenure may not be a candidate in the elections resulting from his resignation.
1. Under extraordinary circumstances of an urgent and unforeseeable need, the President of the Republic may, upon the proposal of the Cabinet, issue acts of legislative content. Such acts shall be submitted to Parliament for ratification, as specified in the provisions of article 72 paragraph 1, within forty days of their issuance or within forty days from the convocation of a parliamentary session. Should such acts not be submitted to Parliament within the above time-limits or if they should not be ratified by Parliament within three months of their submission, they will henceforth cease to be in force.
*2. The President of the Republic shall by decree proclaim a referendum on crucial national matters following a resolution voted by an absolute majority of the total number of Members of Parliament, taken upon proposal of the Cabinet.
A referendum on Bills passed by Parliament regulating important social matters, with the exception of the fiscal ones shall be proclaimed by decree by the President of the Republic, if this is decided by three-fifths of the total number of its members, following a proposal of two-fifths of the total number of its members, and as the Standing Orders and the law for the application of the present paragraph provide. No more than two proposals to hold a referendum on a Bill can be introduced in the same parliamentary term.
Should a Bill be voted, the time-limit stated in article 42 paragraph 1 begins the day the referendum is held.
*3. The President of the Republic may under exceptional circumstances address messages to the People with the consent opinion of the Prime Minister. Those messages should be countersigned by the Prime Minister and published in the Government Gazette.
1. The number of the Members of Parliament shall be specified by statute; it cannot, however, be below two hundred or over three hundred.
2. The Members of Parliament represent the Nation.
3. The Members of Parliament shall be electedthrough direct, universal and secret ballot by the citizens who have the right to vote, as specified by law. The law cannot abridge the right to vote except in cases where a minimum age has not been attained or in cases of legal incapacity or as a result of irrevocable criminal conviction for certain felonies.
**4. Parliamentary elections shall be held simultaneously throughout the Country. Matters pertaining to the exercise of the right to vote by persons living outside the Country may be specified by statute, adopted by a majority of two thirds of the total number of Members of Parliament. Concerning such persons, the principle of simultaneously holding elections does not impede the exercise of their right to vote by postal vote or by other appropriate means, provided that the counting of votes and the announcement of the results is carried out when this is also carried out across the Country.
**5. The exercise of the right to vote is compulsory.
The free and unfalsified expression of the popular will as an expression of popular sovereignty, shall be guaranteed by all State officers, who shall be obliged to ensure such under all circumstances. Criminal sanctions for violations of this provision shall be specified by law.
1. The Members of Parliament shall be elected for a term of four consecutive years, commencing on the day of the general elections.
Upon expiration of the parliamentary term, there shall be proclaimed by presidential decree countersigned by the Cabinet, general parliamentary elections to be held within thirty days and the convocation of the new Parliament in regular session within another thirty days.
2. A parliamentary seat that has become vacant during the last year of a parliamentary term shall not be filled by a by-election, where such is required by law, as long as the number of vacant seats does not exceed onefifth of the total number of the Members of Parliament.
3. In case of war, the parliamentary term shall be extended for the entire duration thereof. If Parliament has been dissolved, elections shall be postponed until the termination of the war and the Parliament dissolved shall be recalled ipso jure until that time.
**1. The electoral system and constituencies are specified by statute which shall be applicable as of the elections after the immediately following ones, unless an explicit provision, adopted by a majority of two thirds of the total number of Members of Parliament, provides for its immediate application as of the immediately following elections.
**2. The number of Members of Parliament elected in each constituency is specified by presidential decree on the basis of the legal population thereof, deriving, according to the latest census, from the persons registered in the relevant municipal rolls, as specified by law. The results of the census are considered to have been published on the basis of the data of the competent service, after one year has elapsed from the last day on which the census was conducted.
3. Part of the Parliament, comprising not more than the one twentieth of the total number of its members, may be elected throughout the Country at large in proportion to the total 65 electoral strength of each party throughout the Country, as specified by law.
Disqualifications and Incompatibilities for Members of Parliament
1. To be elected as Member of Parliament, one must be a Greek citizen, have the legal capacity to vote and have attained the age of twenty-five years on the day of the election.
2. A Member of Parliament deprived of any of the above qualifications shall forfeit his parliamentary office ipso jure.
**1. Salaried civil functionaries and servants, other servants of the State, persons serving in the armed forces and the security corps, servants of local government agencies or of other public law legal persons, elected single-member organs of local government agencies, governors, deputy governors or chairmen of the boards of directors or managing or executive directors of public law legal persons or of statecontrolled legal entities of private law or of public enterprises or of enterprises whose management the State appoints directly or indirectly by administrative act or by virtue of its capacity as shareholder, or of local government enterprises, may neither stand for election nor be elected to Parliament if they do not resign prior to their nomination as candidates. Resignation is effective merely upon being submitted in writing. Militaries who have resigned are barred from returning to active service. Higher elected single-person organs of local government agencies of the second degree, may not stand for election nor be elected to Parliament throughout the term for which they have been elected, even if they resign.
2. Professors of institutions of university level are exempt from the restrictions of the preceding paragraph. The exercise of the duties of professor shall be suspended for the duration of the parliamentary term and the manner of replacement of professors elected to Parliament shall be specified by law.
**3. The following persons may not stand for election nor be elected to Parliament in the electoral district where they served or in any constituency to which their local powers extended during the last eighteen months of the fouryear parliamentary term:
a) Governors, deputy governors, chairmen of the boards of directors, managing and executive directors of public law legal persons, with the exception of associations, of state-owned private law legal persons and of public enterprises or of enterprises whose management the State appoints directly or indirectly by administrative act or by virtue of its capacity as shareholder.
b) Members of independent authorities which are constituted and operate in accordance with article 101A, as well as of the authorities designated by law as independent or regulatory.
c) High and highest-ranking officers of the armed forces and the security corps.
d) Salaried servants of the State, of local government agencies and their enterprises, as 67 well as of the legal entities and enterprises falling under case (a) who held the post of head of an organic unit at the level of a directorate or a corresponding post, as specifically provided by law. Servants mentioned in the preceding section who exercise a larger local power are subject to the restrictions of this paragraph concerning constituencies other than those of their seat, only in case they were holding a post of head of unit at the level of general directorate or another corresponding level, as specifically provided by statute.
e) General or special Secretaries of ministries or of autonomous secretariats, general or regional administrations and all persons that the law equalises with these. Persons nominated for State Deputies shall not be subject to the restrictions of this paragraph.
4. Civil servants and militaries, generally, having undertaken an obligation by law to remain in service for a certain period of time, may not stand for election nor be elected to Parliament while their obligation is in force.
The hearing of objections raised against the validity of parliamentary elections and their verification concerning either electoral violations related to the conduct of the elections, or the lack of legal qualifications, is assigned to the Supreme Special Court of article 100.
1. A Special Highest Court shall be established, the jurisdiction of which shall comprise:
a) The trial of objections in accordance with article 58.
b) Verification of the validity and returns of a referendum held in accordance with article 44 paragraph 2.
c) Judgment in cases involving the incompatibility or the forfeiture of office by a Member of Parliament, in accordance with article 55 paragraph 2 and article 57.
d) Settlement of any conflict between the courts and the administrative authorities, or between the Supreme Administrative Court and the ordinary administrative courts on one hand and the civil and criminal courts on the other, or between the Court of Audit and any other court.
e) Settlement of controversies on whether the content of a statute enacted by Parliament is contrary to the Constitution, or on the interpretation of provisions of such statute when conflicting judgments have been pronounced by the Supreme Administrative Court, the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court or the Court of Audit.
f) The settlement of controversies related to the designation of rules of international law as generally acknowledged in accordance with article 28 paragraph 1.
2. The Court specified in paragraph 1 shall be composed of the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, the President of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court and the President of the Court of Audit, four Councillors of the Supreme Administrative Court and four members of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court chosen by lot for a two-year term. The Court shall be presided over by the President of the Supreme Administrative Court or the President of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court, according to seniority.
In the cases specified under sections (d) and (e) of the preceding paragraph, the composition of the Court shall be expanded to include two law professors of the law schools of the country’s universities, chosen by lot.
3. The organization and functioning of the Court, the appointment, replacement of and assistance to its members, as well as the procedure to be followed shall be determined by special statute.
4. The judgments of this Court shall be irrevocable. Provisions of a statute declared unconstitutional shall be invalid as of the date of publication of the respective judgment, or as of the date specified by the ruling.
**5. When a section of the Supreme Administrative Court or chamber of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court or of the Court of Audit judges a provision of a statute to be contrary to the Constitution, it is bound to refer the question to the respective plenum, unless this has been judged by a previous decision of the
plenum or of the Special Highest Court of this article. The plenum shall be assembled into judicial formation and shall decide definitively, as specified by law. This regulation shall also apply accordingly to the elaboration of regulatory decrees by the Supreme Administrative Court.
Matters relating to the establishment and functioning of the Legal Council of the State, as well as matters relating to the service status of functionaries and servants who serve therein, shall be specified by law. The competence of the Legal Council of the State pertains mainly to the judicial support and representation of the State and to the recognition of claims against it or to the settlement of disputes with the State. The provisions of article 88 paragraphs 2
and 5, and of article 90 paragraph 5, shall apply accordingly to the main staff of the Legal Council of the State.
1. The administration of local affairs shall be exercised by local government agencies of first and second level. For the administration of local affairs, there is a presumption of competence in favour of local government agencies. The range and categories of local affairs, as well as their allocation to each level, shall be specified by law. Law may assign to local government agencies the exercise of competences constituting mission of the State.
2. Local government agencies shall enjoy administrative and financial independence. Their authorities shall be elected by universal and secret ballot, as specified by law.
3. Law may provide for compulsory or voluntary associations of local government agencies to execute works or render services or exercise competences belonging to local government agencies; these shall be governed by elected administrations.
4. The State shall exercise the supervision of local government agencies, which shall consist exclusively in the review of the legality and shall not be allowed to impede their initiative and freedom of action. The review of legality shall be exercised as specified by law.
With the exception of cases involving ipso jure forfeiture of office or suspension, disciplinary sanctions to elected administrations of local government agencies shall be imposed only with the concurrent opinion of a council composed in its majority of judges, as specified by law.
5. The State shall adopt the legislative, regulatory and fiscal measures required for ensuring the financial independence and the funds necessary to the fulfilment of the mission and exercise of the competences of local government agencies, ensuring at the same time the transparency in the management of such funds. Matters pertaining to the attribution and allocation, among local government agencies, of the taxes or duties provided in their favour and collected by the State shall be specified by law. Every transfer of competences from central or regional administrations of the State to local government also entails the transfer of the corresponding funds. Matters pertaining to the determination and collection of local revenues directly from local government agencies shall be specified by law.
Athens, 18 April 2001
THE SPEAKER OF THE HELLENIC PARLIAMENT
APOSTOLOS CHR. KAKLAMANIS
The Constitution of Greece was elaborated and voted by the 5th Revisionary Parliament which came out of the elections following the collapse of the 1967 dictatorship on July 24, 1974. The Constitution entered into force on June 11, 1975. The Constitution of Greece was initially revised by the 6th Revisionary Parliament in 1986 and was revised for a second time by the 7th Revisionary Parliament in 2001.
Note: One asterisk (*) indicates the provisions revised in 1986, while two asterisks (**) indicate those revised in 2001.