GOVERNMENT & ADMINISTRATION

Names: Conventional long form: Hellenic Republic.

Conventional short form: Greece.

Local long form: Elliniki Dimokratia.

Local short form: Ellas.

Former: Kingdom of Greece.

Government

National: Greece is an independent sovereign Republic with a presidential parliamentary government. (Formerly, Greece was a constitutional monarchy but that form of government was rejected by a referendum on December 8, 1974.) Under the 1975 Constitution, there is a separation of powers to the executive, legislative, and the judiciary. The head of government (executive) is the premier--prime minister,--the leader of the party with a majority or plurality in parliament. The cabinet, consisting of the premier and other ministers, is accountable to a one-chamber parliament of 300 members. In the legislature, representatives to the parliament are elected by the people for a term of four years. There is also an independent judiciary.

The president, who is elected by parliament for a term of five years and may succeed himself once, used to have the power to declare war and conclude treaties. However, constitutional amendments in 1986 considerably reduced the president's power and enhanced those of the prime minister. Today, the president's office is largely ceremonial. He appoints the prime minister and, on the latter's recommendations, the other members of the cabinet. Further, the president may call special sessions of parliament. Although the president can veto legislation, his veto can be overridden by a majority of the total membership of parliament. Most power, however, rests with the parliament and the prime minister.

President of the Republic: Constantinos Stephanopoulos

Prime Minister: Constantinos Simitis

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Theodoros Pangalos

Minister of National Defense: Akis Tsohatsopulos

Minister of National Economy: Yiannos Papantoniou

Minister of Education: Gerasimos Arsenis

Speaker of the Parliament: Apostolos Kaklamanis

Local: Greece is divided into 52 prefectures (nomoi--singular: nomos) which are in turn divided into 147 provinces (eparchies--singular: eparchia). The eparchies are subdivided into 272 municipalities (demoi). These are further divided into communities and, finally, localities. The office of the prefect (nomarches) is an elected one, and has jurisdiction over elected local officials. Mount Athos and its monasteries enjoy a special autonomy status. The prefectures are:

CENTRAL GREECE & EVVOIA: Attiki, Voiotia, Fthiotida, Fokida, Evritania, Aetoloakarnania, Evvoia. PELOPONNESE: Corinthia, Argolis, Laconia, Messinia, Ilia, Achaia, Arcadia. THESSALY: Larissa, Magnesia, Trikala, Karditsa. EPIRUS: Ioannina, Thesprotia, Arta, Preveza. MACEDONIA: Kastoria, Florina, Pella, Kozani, Grevena, Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Chalkidiki, Pieria, Imathia, Serres, Drama, Kavala, Agion Oros (Mt. Athos). THRACE: Xanthi, Evros, Rodopi. AEGEAN ISLANDS: Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Dodekanese, Kyklades. EPTANESE: Corfu (Kerkyra), Lefkada, Kefallinia, Zakynthos. CRETE: Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, Lasithi.

Legislature: The legislative authority of the Republic is exercised by the unicameral Chamber of Deputies (Vouli ton Ellinon) now consisting of 300 members, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. (For representation in the parliament see "Elections")

Judiciary: The administration of justice is exercised through an independent judiciary and a system of civil, criminal, and administrative courts. The supreme court hears appeals from the decisions of lower courts. The constitutional court determines whether a law is constitutional in case of conflicting decisions between other courts or administrative organs.

Legal System: Based on codified Roman law.

International Status: The Republic of Greece is a founding member of the United Nations Organization and UN agencies; member of the European Union (EU); member of the West European Union (WEU); member of NATO, Council for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE); GATT, OECD, INTERPOL.


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