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Greek Elections: What Will Happen If No Party Wins Absolute Majority?

While the general election campaign is in full speed, the latest public opinion polls destroy any political hopes for an absolute majority and the formation of  one-party government. Greece’s voters will most likely cast their vote pushed by the motivation to “punish” those parties that governed the country for almost four decades and ruining it.

A coalition government is most likely to emerge after the general election on May 6th 2012.  However except the socialist PASOK – a party that is expected to suffer a historic defeat for having taken the country to the IMF – all parties seem to dismiss any after elections coalition government options.  Also out of fear to scare their voters.

So what will happen if there is no winner with an absolutely majority of more than 44%? Greek Constitution is clear on the issue:

According to the Article 37 of the Greek Constitution, the President shall appoint the leader of the political party with the absolute majority of seats in the Parliament as Prime Minister.

If no party has the absolute majority, the President shall give the leader of the party with a relative majority an exploratory mandate in order to ascertain the possibility of forming a Government enjoying the confidence of the Parliament.

If this possibility cannot be ascertained, the President shall give the exploratory mandate to the leader of the second largest party in Parliament, and if this proves to be unsuccessful, to the leader of the third largest party in Parliament.

Each exploratory mandate shall be in force for three days.

 If all exploratory mandates prove to be unsuccessful, the President summons the party leaders, and if the impossibility to form a Cabinet enjoying the confidence of the Parliament is confirmed, he shall attempt to form a Cabinet composed of all parties in Parliament for the purpose of holding parliamentary elections.

If this fails, he shall entrust the President of the Supreme Administrative Court or of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court or of the Court of Auditors to form a Cabinet as widely accepted as possible to carry out elections and dissolves the Parliament.

Should the party leader stick to their pre-elections announcement of not governmental cooperation, the political instability will continue until new elections would take place, and frustrated Greek voters go to polls with a decision to get a government.

PS KTG will post another article about the possibilities of political parties coalition government options.

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  1. Thank you so much for this, KTG. Did not have a clue about these procedures.

    With 10 parties predicted to get into Parliament the whole process can take up to 30 days from May… May 6 or May 17? (Wasn’t that last one the date on which parliament will reconvene for the first time?)

    • keeptalkinggreece

      I understood the exploratory mandate ends at the third party. no, if elections take place these dates are not valid.

      • So, in 9 days we know? Great! I might ever be around for that second election?! First one in Holland (IF the Dutch are not so foolish and lift the elections over the summer to September/October), then back to Greece to get the whole fun here again! Oh what fun!!!

        • keeptalkinggreece

          Antonis, you can pendle form elections country to elections country. when are elections in Holland? your PM resigned today.

          • This was not MY PM. I would rather die then vote for that guy…
            To answer your question: First messages were that elections would be in September/October. Nice sign of how Dutch politicians also not feel any urgency when the economy of their citizens income are concerned. But now a majority of parliament seems to prefer June 27, so before the holidays there.
            But there still is a small chance that a new coalition could be formed that has a majority in parliament. That’s the nice thing about coalition governments.
            But most likely there will be elections. In the mean time there will be the need to decide on tough austerity measures. And this government will become a caretaker government until a new one is formed. But it can not take those measures. So parliament will have to deal with it and bring forward measures themselves that will get majorities.
            But in the end, this government resigned because it could not agree on measures to get in line with the budget discipline (3%) it promoted so hard in Brussels and for which they condemned Greece so hard. 🙂

          • keeptalkinggreece

            yes, I heard your FinMin on the measures :p – Governments resign, elections take place, Sarkozy goes, only angela and the euro will stay for one more year lol

  2. So what happens if we got to a second election and the same scenario repeats itself i.e there is no outright winner and no agreed coalition? Would this go on indefinitely, or is there a different law that kicks in?

    • keeptalkinggreece

      Carolina, the same scenarios most likely won’t come up on the second eelections. Then voters will behave differently, more cohesive. let’s say, the first election has more features of a ‘punishment’ vote, but the second will be more …to the point, I assume.

  3. I follow Greece and all what is happening there, and therefore i am here, was reading in the intro: “However except the socialist PASOK – a party that is expected to suffer a historic defeat for >>>having taken the country to the IMF….<<<<" I do NOT agree with that statement, not at all!!

    I have written a long post in my Theodorakis blog about May 6, 2012, with my ideas about the why of the collapse. And why it is impossible to have an opinion READY before May 6. There are 32 parties!!! So, I invite you to read my words, my thoughts. Humble and simple, different, but mine.

    You can also find Mikis Theodorakis' ideas about the elections, in the post, also in the Links/politics and also on the Cretan Theodorakis website.

  4. Seems like the same coalition government will return to power if ND gets 110+ seats in parliment and Pasok 40+ seats, that would be a majority and they could form a pro-bailout pro-austerity government, correct?