The article analyzes the political changes that have taken place in Greece following a double parliamentary election of 2015 (in January and September), focusing on three levels: 1) party system change, 2) electoral system change into parliament, 3) constitutional reform. The first part of the text sets out the basic changes in the structure of the party system, emphasizing the electoral victory of the radical forces – the far left populist SYRIZA or the rise of the far-right (Golden Dawn) in the double election of 2015.
The paper also briefly reviews the nature and functioning of the Greek parliamentary electoral system with special regard to the newly adopted electoral law. In this respect, the paper highlights the main constitutional principles governing suffrage, as a necessary background to examining and understanding the framework upon which Greek electoral systems are based. It also presents the main features of the current electoral system, since it is the one to be applied in the following parliamentary election. The focus will be then on the recent reform of the electoral system in Greece after the adoption of Law 4406/2016. The paper analyses its most significant aspects and raises a number of relevant questions. Special reference is made to the voting procedure followed by the Greek Parliament for the adoption of Law 4406/2016, since it is a key factor for its enforcement.
Since the outbreak of the crisis discussions about constitutional reform have been ongoing in Greece, although the initiation of a formal amendment process was blocked until 2013, due to the time-constraints imposed by the constitutional amending formula. The paragraph assesses the proposals made in July 2016 by the Tsipras government for a radical revision of the 1975 Constitution, taking into account the intense debate which engaged Greek constitutional law scholars. The Author highlights the particular features of the Greek constitutional revision model, characterized by political-elite-driven change which has led in the past to amending attempts lacking of a broad consensus. The broad scope of the proposed amendments requires political foresight and caution to prevent the constitutional revision from being reduced to a mere political diversion to ensure the permanence in power of certain political actors in the absence of consent and to deflect attention from continued controversial austerity policies.