Tsipras calls on parties to back electoral reform

15 July 2016
783 Views

In a wide-ranging interview with Skai TV on Thursday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras defended his plans to change the electoral law, introducing a simple system of proportional representation, and called on political parties to back the reform, noting that failure to do so would constitute a “democratic faux pas” and “political suicide.”

Regarding the timing of his decision to reform the electoral law, Tsipras said it had been impossible to do last year when his main priority had been negotiating with creditors but that “now the time is right talk about major reforms and changes that the country needs.”

Tsipras defended his plans to abolish the 50-seat bonus for the winning party that exists under the current electoral system and to lower the minimum voting age to 17 from 18.

He insisted on the need to introduce a system of simple proportional representation and described the opposition of parties of the center-left as “unjustifiable,” noting that such a system would give them greater political leverage.

Tsipras said the time was right for the president to be elected by the people instead of Parliament. As regards a broader review of the Constitution, Tsipras said aspects of the proposed changes could be put to a referendum.

On his government’s track record, Tsipras admitted mistakes were made during negotiations with its creditors and that the third bailout agreement “undoubtedly includes some painful compromises.”

As for recent revelations by American economist James Galbraith about the existence of a plan B for the possibility of a Greek exit from the eurozone, Tsipras admitted that there had been such a contingency plan.

However, he denied that plans had been drawn up for introducing a new currency, saying that in such a scenario, Greece would have been a “failed state.”

Earlier on Thursday, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on his MPs to reject the government’s “tactics,” accusing the administration of playing with Greece’s institutions and the Constitution in order to “cling onto” power.

He vowed, however, that ND would change the electoral law when in power.

Mitsotakis accused the government of incompetence, saying it was driving the country into recession, and repeated his call for snap elections. “We have to finish with this government,” he said.

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