Samaras makes comeback and proposes solid foundations for change

The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Friday made a grand comeback and unveiled 31 proposals to be included in a constitutional revision for public debate that if implemented will revolutionize the form of government as we know it.

ND leader Antonis Samaras on Friday presented the proposals put together by a special committee set up for this purpose and underlined that the citizens should regain their lost confidence in institutions and the Greek society should function within a new framework of transparency and effectiveness.

Samaras characterized the referendum proposals as “alibis and moves aimed at creating short-lived impressions for the purpose of covering up the impasses of a failed governmental policy”.

The proposals presented by ND concern the election and the strengthening of the role of the President of the Republic; setting time-limits to the prime minister’s term in office; the incompatibility of government minister and parliament deputy offices; changes in the number of MPs; minister’s liability issues; “source of wealth” declarations by politicians; democratization of political parties and transparency in their finances; abolition of MP benefits unrelated with their duties and adoption of stable election system.

ND also suggested the establishment of a Constitutional Court and proposed changes in article 16 of the constitution on the establishment of private universities.

The 31 proposals proceed as follows:

  1. Election and strengthening the regulatory role of the President of the Republic.
  2. Establish time limits on the tenure of the Prime Minister’s term.
  3. Establish time limits on the terms of regional council personnel such as prefects and mayors as well as Unionists.
  4. The office of Ministers will be incompatible to that of the MPs.
  5. Review the number of MPs and Members of State.
  6. Review of the provision for the limitation period on the criminal responsibility of ministers and the removal of this provision which is in force today.
  7. Review of the provision on the immunity of MPs so that it limits the exercise of parliamentary functions.
  8. Constitutional provision for the “Pothen Esches” article (where did you find it) on politicians and the delegation of control to a select body, composed exclusively of senior officers of the three Supreme Courts of the Country (proposal ND).
  9. Effective democratization of political parties and guarantees on transparency in their finances.
  10. Elimination of parliamentary privileges not related to the functions of MPs.
  11. Establishment of a stable electoral system by providing that the change requires a majority vote from three fifths of the Parliament.
  12. Strengthening of guarantees for the depletion of the duration of government in parliament.
  13. Strengthening the Role of Parliamentarians in both legislative and supervisory levels.
  14. Constitutional provision so that organisations and citizens will be able to voice their opinion in the development of the legislative process.
  15. The enactment of a government scheme and corresponding body following the vote approval from three fifths of Parliament. Also the institutionalization of two permanent Undersecretaries, one in Foreign Affairs and another one on the budget; both Undersecretaries will have a five year term and will be elected by three-fifths of Parliament.
  16. The provision of state guarantees will only be given via formal law.
  17. To compile a feasibility study for major public works and the procurement of government, except those of the Ministry of Defence.
  18. Abolition of the office of the General Secretaries of the Ministries and a corresponding increase in the roles of General Managers.
  19. Establishment of a Constitutional Court.
  20. Establishment of a special department at the State Council for the quick trial of cases that involve large public contracts and private investments.
  21. Delineation of the general jurisdiction of the Court on public contracts, to avoid conflicts with that of the Council of State.
  22. Revision of Article 90 in the direction of strengthening the independence of the judiciary system and limiting the discretion of the Executive Council on the choice of the leadership.
  23. Revision of Article 16, for the establishment and operation of non-governmental and non-profit Universities.
  24. Rationalisation of provisions for the media towards enhancing transparency and objectivity.
  25. Revision of the referenda provisions providing for a referendum and other popular initiatives.
  26. Reforming the economic theme of the Constitution; and linking the use of public assets towards economic growth while ensuring a similar benefit to the community.
  27. Anticipating the requirement for a yearly review by all agencies funded by the state budget.
  28. Revision of Article 17, towards more effective protection of core individual rights to own property.
  29. Revision of Article 24 (and Article 117 paragraph 3 and 4) towards the fuller protection of the environment and tackling extreme situations to the detriment not only of private property and public property.
  30. Explicit provision for the protection of national identity and Greek.
  31. Streamlining the organization and operation of independent authorities.

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