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07 June, 1997
Parliament next Wednesday will debate a proposal on the revision of the Constitution, after the motion was tabled by 96 ruling PASOK deputies, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.
The 300-member legislature will decide which articles of the Constitution will be amended by the next Parliament, Mr. Reppas said, adding that the government considered it unacceptable for Parliament to be dissolved as a result of its inability to elect a president of the republic, something that is mandatory with the present Constitution. The election of the president of the republic by Parliament is considered to be the most important of the issues pertaining to the revision of the Constitution.
The issue centers on the number of deputies required for election.
Mr. Reppas said PASOK's proposal, tabled on Thursday night, took into consideration "the experience of history" and was aimed at ensuring political stability and normality.
He stressed, however, that the government would seek the consent of all political parties in the proposed revision, noting a "coincidence of views" on a number of issues.
PASOK's proposal seeks the revision of articles on the appointment of top judges and proposes the establishment of a National Council for Foreign Policy with an all-party composition and the participation of experts.
It also provides for the consolidation of constitutional rights, such as the abolition of the death penalty and protection of citizens from the recording of information on computers.
Meanwhile, the main opposition New Democracy party yesterday tabled its own proposal on the revision of the Constitution.
"We have once again dragged the government in the right direction and we shall fight to prevent any expediencies which the government might pursue with regard to the revision of the Constitution," ND Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis said, tabling the proposal at noon.
ND's proposal seeks the strengthening of the regulatory duties of the president of the republic, chiefly in order to enable the holder of the office to ensure that the legislative initiatives of the government are constitutional.
ND also proposes the establishment of private non-profit university-level institutes of education and the enactment of provisions relating to the election law. The main opposition also favors repeal of the death penalty.
The proposal, along with the one tabled by the PASOK deputies, will be debated in Parliament on Wednesday.
The president of the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), Nikos Constantopoulos, criticized the government and ND on their tactics for revising the Constitution.
Mr. Constantopoulos said that both parties are "trying to out do each other." Synaspismos, he added, believes that a major constitutional reform is necessary and will table its proposals to the relevant Parliamentary committee.
Source: Athens News Agency