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ATHENS – “Revising the constitution is the supreme process of the institutions in a parliamentary democracy and this is how we have treated it from the very beginning,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, addressing the plenary of the Greek parliament currently debating constitutional revision.

Tsipras said that the government has sought not to limit the discussion within the parliament but instead to open a wider dialogue with the society, its entities, organisations and various types of movements, as well as the productive forces. This is why, he added, SYRIZA’s proposal currently debated does not simply reflect the government’s willingness to deal with technicalities but instead demonstrates a volition to proceed to changes and reforms that will express and vindicates the demands of the people.

At the same time, he continued, the government is taking into account the condition of the crisis, the lessons learned during the last few years, the constantly changing international setting but also the contemporary challenges the system of parliamentary democracy is facing from centres of political power that lie outside institutions and the constitution. This is the reason, he stressed, “why our proposals prioritise the need to strengthen the role of the parliament and of the democratically elected government” against those types of power that do not directly emerge from the sovereign people.

Tsipras then said that his party’s suggestions revolve around five main pillars, which he presented as follows:

– The first pillar is aimed at strengthening the role of the parliament and of the democratically elected government in order to enhance political stability and create conditions that can guarantee four-year political cycles. Proposals in this direction include: dissociating the election of the President of the Republic from the dissolution of parliament; rendering it mandatory for the prime minister to be also an elected member of parliament so as to preclude the possibility of “handing over the keys of the country” to a technocrat; and switching to a system of proportional representation.

-With the suggestions included in the second pillar, such as restricting parliamentary immunity to offences directly related to the MP’s parliamentary duties, Tsipras said that the government aspires to restore people’s trust in the country’s political life.
– The third pillar, he continued, is concerned with reinforcing the democratic processes and implicating the people in the decision-making process. To that end, SYRIZA proposes that any international treaty conceding sovereign responsibilities to international organisations should be ratified by a referendum.

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yorgos Kontarinis)

– The fourth pillar pertains to the relations between State and Church, and includes suggestions aimed at promoting secularity;

– While with the fifth and last pillar, Tsipras explained, SYRIZA seeks to boost the protection of social rights and public goods, which, he said, “under today’s conditions of neoliberal dominance are constantly under threat and need to be shielded constitutionally, legally and actually.’

Furthermore, the PM accused New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis of eluding to take a clear stance on SYRIZA’s proposal to renew the term of Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos in 2020, and called on him to do so immediately, when it is his turn to address the parliament.

The post Live: Greek Parliament Debates Constitutional Revision appeared first on The National Herald.

Source: The National Herald
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