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Greek Parliament Mulls Scrapping Proportional Representation

The proposed legislation which changes the electoral laws of Greece was brought before the Parliament on Tuesday morning.

The bill will be discussed in a Parliamentary Committee on Wednesday, Thursday and Monday before it reaches the plenary, where MPs will vote in favor or against it next week.

The New Democracy party’s proposal reintroduces the principle of ”bonus” MPs for the winning party, by which nearly all elections in Greece have been conducted since 2004.

This electoral system was abolished by the SYRIZA administration in 2017, which banned the bonus and introduced the simple proportional representation system.

The electoral law promoted by SYRIZA will be implemented in the coming national elections, scheduled for 2023, unless the new bill attracts more than 200 positive votes next week, which is viewed as highly unlikely.

According to the SYRIZA-introduced system, the winning party will require approximately 50 percent of the vote to form a government on its own, making the formation of strong parliamentary majorities nearly impossible.

The current conservative government of Greece has reiterated that if it wins the next general election, it will not assume power, leading the country to a second general election, one month after the first one, which will then take place under the currently-proposed electoral law.

This law grants additional MPs to the winning party, making the formation of strong parliamentary majorities much easier.

According to the government’s draft legislation, the victorious party will be able to gain from 20 to 50 MPs as a ”bonus” on top of what its actual winning margin has earned.

If the winning party garners more than 25% of the vote, then 20 MPs will be given as a bonus to its caucus.

For every half percentage point above the 25-percent threshold, the winning party will be awarded one additional MP.

The blargest bonus a winning party could obtain is 50 MPs, which will happen if it manages to gain 40 percent of the popular vote.

It is noted that no other parliamentary party in Greece agrees with the government’s current proposition.

The social democrat KINAL party actually had a similar proposal, but that plan lowers the maximum bonus to 35 instead of 50 MPs.

For this reason, the government’s proposal is expected to be voted in by the 158 New Democracy MPs, making the bill effective starting with the elections after the next ones, which will take place using the proportional representation system introduced by SYRIZA.

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