Elec­toral law dead-end

Golden Dawn says it will not vote, leav­ing gov’t un­able to reach su­per­ma­jor­ity

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The coali­tion’s slim chances of clinch­ing a su­per­ma­jor­ity in the vote on the new elec­toral sys­tem to­mor­row ap­peared to van­ish com­pletely yesterday when far-right Golden Dawn said it would not take part in the bal­lot.

The ex­trem­ist party’s de­ci­sion means that un­less New Democ­racy or PASOK and To Po­tami have a last-minute change of heart, the govern­ment can­not gar­ner more than 179 votes, which is well short of the 200 needed for a qual­i­fied ma­jor­ity that would al­low the new sys­tem to be ap­plied straight away rather than af­ter the next elec­tions.

As things stand, apart from the 144 SYRIZA and nine In­de­pen­dent Greeks law­mak­ers, the only other mem­bers of the House that in­tend to vote for the draft leg­is­la­tion are 15 from the Com­mu­nist Party and nine from the Cen­trists’ Union, as well as two in­de­pen­dent deputies.

The govern­ment is propos­ing that the 50seat bonus for the party that wins the gen­eral elec­tion to be scrapped com­pletely and for the vot­ing age to be low­ered to 17. It also sug­gests keep­ing the thresh­old for en­ter­ing Par­lia­ment at 3 per­cent.

New Democ­racy, PASOK and To Po­tami have crit­i­cized the abo­li­tion of the 50-seat bonus, ar­gu­ing that it would lead to po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity as it makes it much more dif­fi­cult for the elec­tion win­ner to form a govern­ment, while also re­quir­ing wider co­op­er­a­tion among com­pet­ing par­ties for an ad­min­is­tra­tion to be formed.

If the bill – which was sub­mit­ted to the ple­nary yesterday – only gar­ners a sim­ple ma­jor­ity, the bonus will re­main in place for the next gen­eral elec­tions. This means that the next govern­ment will have a chance to pass a new law, pre­vent­ing SYRIZA’s pro­posal from be­ing im­ple­mented, if it can se­cure a su­per­ma­jor­ity. The re­duced vot­ing age does not need a qual­i­fied ma­jor­ity, mean­ing that 17-year-olds will be able to vote in the next na­tional bal­lot should the pro­posal be ap­proved by at least 151 MPs to­mor­row night.

With the vote on the elec­toral sys­tem out of the way, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras is ex­pected to turn his at­ten­tion to mak­ing changes to the Greek Con­sti­tu­tion. Sources said he is due to set out some ideas on Mon­day. An aide to the prime min­is­ter said Tsipras would not make spe­cific pro­pos­als but would pose ques­tions about the kind of con­sti­tu­tion Greeks want.

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