The electoral law in #Greece & why changing it (again!) now would be another hit to the already suffering #democracy 🧵

Greece does not have a stable electoral system enshrined in its constitution. This means that electoral laws can & do change from time to time. 1/
Since the 1974 restoration of democracy, Greece has mostly used a so-called ‘reinforced proportionality’ system that is proportional only in name, as it tends to disproportionately benefit the largest party & excludes smaller ones due to a 3% threshold for entering parliament. 2/
The long-established parties of the post-authoritarian era (ND & PASOK) have historically tended to tweak or change the electoral law with the aim to undermine opponents & benefit themselves. 3/
One such instance was in 1989, when the then dominant #PASOK saw defeat coming, so it changed the electoral law to a much more proportional version, to make it much harder, almost impossible, for its rival, the then rising ND, to form a government on its own. 4/
This led to governmental crisis, requiring 3 consecutive elections until the formation of a stable government by ND & Konstantinos Mitsotakis, the father of the current PM. This govt, to no surprise, changed the electoral law again in 1990 back to ‘reinforced proportionality’. 5/
In an effort to combat the manipulation of the electoral law by parties that happen to command a majority in parliament, a constitutional amendment in 2001 dictated that changes in the electoral law would normally apply to elections after the immediately following ones. 6/
The only exception would be if an enhanced majority of 2/3 of MPs in Parliament voted in favour of the immediate application of said change as of the immediately following elections. This enhanced majority has never been achieved. 7/
The #SYRIZA-led government, fulfilling a long-standing pledge of the Left, changed the electoral law ιν 2016 to a system of proportional representation; abolished the 50-seats bonus for the 1st party (in place since 2008); but maintained the 3% entry threshold for parliament. 8/
The 2016 SYRIZA electoral law was voted by a simple majority (179 out of 300 MPs), so it did take effect in the immediately following elections of 2019. It will take effect in the forthcoming elections (probably around spring or early summer 2023). 9/
In the meantime, the #Mitsotakis government came to power in 2019 & among the first things it did was to change back the electoral system to ‘reinforced proportionality’, voting a law that disproportionally benefits whoever comes first. 10/
This electoral vote was voted by 163 out of 300 MPs so, again, it could not take effect in the immediately following elections of 2023; only after that. This new law would allow the first party to form a parliamentary majority with even as low as 37.5% of the popular vote. 11/
The aim of #Mitsotakis was clear. Assuming that #ND will maintain dominance over #SYRIZA, this electoral law, when in force, would allow it for an easy parliamentary majority if it manages to rally its traditional electoral base, which historically has been around 40%. 12/
The hope of #Mitsotakis is that political parties belonging to the broader progressive camp (#SYRIZA, #PASOK, #MeRA25) will not manage to form a coalition government after the elections of 2023, which will almost certainly be held under a truly proportional electoral system. 13/
In such a scenario, a snap election right after that would be held with the electoral law that #ND voted in 2020, boosting its chances for a parliamentary majority. 14/
However, after the destabilisation of the #Mitsotakis government under the weight of the ongoing #SpyingScandal & the declining vote share of #ND in opinion polls, the PM seems to want to make sure the cards are stacked even more in favour of his party. 15/
And this is why various ministers have already started to float the idea that the government might change again its own (!) electoral law, to give an even bigger advantage to whatever party comes first (and they assume, of course, that this will be them). 16/
If this is indeed pushed through the parliament, it will be a blatant self-serving legislative initiative, exemplifying the manipulation of the electoral law for party gains. Such practices are extremely detrimental to democracy. 17/
The fact that the government opens this discussion at a time when it's revealed it has been spying on journalists & political opponents only highlights the severity of the situation & the urgent need to defend #democracy, #representative_institutions & #rule_of_law in Greece. END

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More from @G_Katsambekis

May 8
Here’s a story that would've been funny if it wasn’t so worrying. @RSF_inter publish their latest index on press freedom in which #Greece has dramatically dropped from position 70 to 108. To those closely following political developments in the country, this was no surprise. 1/
#Greece, after conservative New Democracy took power in 2019, has been in a downward spiral of #democratic_backsliding that affects every level of the polity: overpowering the executive, undermining the independence of institutions, assaults on minority rights & press freedom. 2/
Regarding the media sphere in particular, the conservative government has consistently tried to silence critical voices, while rewarding media outlets willing to turn a blind eye to their (mis)conduct & amplify their propaganda. 3/
Read 16 tweets
Aug 24, 2021
Greek govt announced new restrictive measures targeting the #unvaccinated population. These include suspension from work for unvaccinated staff in healthcare/pharmacies, mandating regular rapid tests (1/week) at their own expense for staff in broader public & private sector… 1/
Even more often tests (2/week) for staff in education, tourism, hospitality & arts. Totally excluding unvaccinated citizens from indoor spaces of restaurants/bars. While restricting free rapid tests in Greece’s public health hubs for the vaccinated only. 2/
I understand the concerns of govt & expert advisors about going into autumn with infections still high & vaccination pace significantly slowed down or even declining. However, we should remember that the communication strategy of this govt has been disastrous. 3/
Read 11 tweets
Jul 7, 2021
The Greek conservative government of Kyriakos #Mitsotakis has managed the 1st wave of #pandemic efficiently, however, its policies have been erratic, inconsistent, or even straight catastrophic since. The latest story revealed by @EFSYNTAKTON today is truly hard to believe. 1/
As documented in the relevant report, in October 2020 & with Greece seeing the rise of a devastating 2nd wave of the pandemic, 4 persons from the Fenerbahçe entourage were let through, even though they had fever & were thus suspect of carrying #COVID19… 2/
The dialog between the officer on the ground & the person in charge from Civil Protection is revealing:

"- 4 persons from Fenerbahçe's entourage have fever
- Let the team through
- Are you sure?
- Chardalias' orders, get on with it, in the Pakistani number" 3/
Read 10 tweets
Feb 23, 2021
I don't do this often so please bear with me. Here's a thread about the alarming developments in #Greece & #New_Democracy's hard-right/#authoritarian turn.👇This photo by D. Tosidis (credit: EPA-EFE; Source:
ANA-MPA) can act as an intro to the thread. 0/…
So, is #New_Democracy govt driving #Greece towards democratic backsliding? Today after we witnessed yesterday's disgraceful images of #police brutally attacking & arresting protesting students inside the country’s biggest university is a sadly fitting day to pose the question. 1/
If we take #Hungary & #Poland as exemplary cases in the literature & as points of comparison, the answer is likely to be yes. The most common symptoms of democratic backsliding mentioned by scholars seem to be manifesting in #Greece since July 2019 with disturbing consistency. 2/
Read 16 tweets
Feb 7, 2021
Greek PM #Mitsotakis violated again (!) the #COVID19 rules. He visited Ikaria island, where he participated at a big gathering at the house of a local MP with 30 other people, breaking the rules against household mixing, social distancing & mask-wearing.…
The incident is truly shocking & was reported on the very same day that the #Mitsotakis government put around half of Greece under tighter lockdown measures, with curfews starting as early as 18:00.
The government's tight control over public & private #media resulted in the effective 'burying' of the story. This would have made headlines in most European countries. This is indicative of the worrying decline of public scrutiny & contestation in the country under this govt.
Read 9 tweets

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