Alexis Tsipras presents his proposals, the slogan behind him reads: “The New Restoration of Democracy”, July 25th, 2017

#DoYouRemember — The launch of constitutional reforms by SYRIZA

The reforms will be accompanied by open dialogue and meticulous research.

Photos: Panayotis Tzamaros / FOS PHOTOS

The restoration of democracy in Greece after the junta is celebrated every year on the July 24th. In 2016, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took the chance to begin what he calls a new chapter of democracy in Greece.

“The economic crisis is a failure of the restoration of democracy,” he proclaimed at the courtyard of the Greek parliament. “The political system is highly responsible for the economic and ethical bankruptcy of our country. The only way to get out of the crisis, once and for all, is to get rid of the old system. Let’s be done with what got us to this point.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras presents the main points of the government’s proposal for the constitutional reform at the courtyard of the Greek Parliament. July 25, 2016.

To this end, he created an organisational committee to oversee the work, starting in September 2016. The committee is comprised of academics and key agents from business, financial and social institutions.

First, a dialogue was to be opened in all local municipalities, between experts, society and civil movements. Then, assemblies were to be held in every one of the 13 prefectures of Greece. Simultaneously, a digital platform where citizens can discuss the issues was designed.

A questionnaire of 53 questions is available online. Greek citizens can answer it, to guide the assembly phase of the grande project. The proposed reforms revolve around 6 axes:

  • Institutional reform of the state and the political framework: who elects the President, and what are his responsibilities? What is the role of the Parliament? Should MPs have term limits? Can the diaspora vote? Can the Parliament withdraw support from the government?
  • Transparency, accountability and participation: Can the state fund political campaigns? What parts should it fund? Should the media be controlled by political institutions or independent authorities?
  • State and church: Should the church approve of religious education or does it lie within state responsibilities? The finances of religious organisations should be checked by state agents, like for all legal persons, or fall under specific legal prescriptions?
  • Justice and civil liberties: Are religious oaths necessary? How should judges be appointed?
  • Collective freedoms and social rights: Is the police, the army and/or the judiciary allowed to strike? Should collective bargaining rights be constitutionally protected?
  • Common assets, environment, culture: Should the free and inclusive provision of water, energy, education, healthcare, housing be enshrined in the constitution? Is the privatisation of such assets unconstitutional?

The reforms need to be approved either by a referendum or by a strong parliamentary majority.

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