Simitis Aims for Electoral Reform
Published July 19th 2003 in ERT, Athens

Prime Minister Costas Simitis has put forward plans for electoral reforms in Greece in the face of an opposition outcry. The proposed changes include electoral boundaries being redrawn and moves to separate votes for parties and individual candidates. There are suggestions for new guidelines on pre-election political alliances. The existing requirement for a political party to gain three percent of the vote to enter parliament remains unchanged. The draft of the new electoral law is expected to be submitte d to Parliament in November, but the new laws will not hit the statute books until after the next general election in 2004. Mr Simitis says the reforms will make government more stable and parliament more representative through a fairer electoral system. But the opposition New Democracy (ND) party, currently leading opinion polls, has refused to take part in the debate and has accused the government of disrespecting democratic procedures. ND president Kostas Karamanlis accused the Prime Minister of insecur ity and opportunism. The opposition KKE party took a similar line. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas said that Mr Karamanlis seems to have forgotten it was he who first raised the issue of electoral reforms three years ago. The Coalition of the Left and DIKKI insisted on the introduction of proportional representation, but they said they would take part in talks. The smaller left-wing parties repeated their demand for the introduction of a proportional electoral system.