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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-26

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece's new 300-member parliament sworn in

  • [01] Greece's new 300-member parliament sworn in

    Greece's new 300-member parliament that emerged from the September 16 general elections was sworn in on Wednesday in a special ceremony in the unicameral House following the traditional blessing.

    "I swear in the name of the Holy Consubstantial and Indivisible Trinity to keep faith in my Country and in the democratic form of government, obedience to the Constitution and the laws and to discharge conscientiously my duties," the MPs pledged, while the two Muslim deputies elected on the main opposition PASOK party's tickets in Xanthi and Rodopi took a similar oath with their hand on the Koran.

    The MPs of the two Left parties (Communist Party of Greece-KKE and Coalition of the Radical Left-SYRIZA), with the exception of KKE deputy Liana Kanelli, did not take a religious oath. KKE leader Aleka Papariga tabled a written statement with the parliament presidium reminding her party's position for abolition of the religious oath, while the SYRIZA MPs entered the parliament immediately after the blessing. PASOK deputy for Lesvos Nikos Sifounakis also took a stand in favour of replacing the religious oath with an oath "in the name of the people and country".

    This was the first plenary of the First Parliamentary Session of the 8th Revisional parliament (12th period of the Presidential Democracy).

    The first session of the new parliamentary period was inaugurated by acting parliament president and second vice-president of the preceding parliament George Sourlas.

    In letters to the presidium, prime minister Costas Karamanlis announced that he would be taking up his MP post in the Thessaloniki A electoral district (he was also elected in the Piraeus B district), PASOK leader chose the seat in Achaia (he was also elected in Thessaloniki A district), KKE leader Aleka Papariga chose the sea in the Athens B district (she was also elected in the Thessaloniki A district), and newcomer LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally) leader George Karatzaferis chose the Thessaloniki A district seat, while SYRIZA Alekos Aolavanos had opted in the elections to run only in the Iraklion prefecture in Crete, where he was elected. Political party leaders have the option of being candidates in two electoral districts, with the right to choose their parliamentary seat in either of those two districts if elected in both.

    The ruling New Democracy (ND), main opposition PASOK, KKE and SYRIZA deputies took up their parties' traditional seats, while the newcomer to the national parliament LAOS' deputies took seats to the left of ND behind the PASOK seats.

    Just before the oaths were taken, a blessing was held, officiated by Metropolitan Prokopios of Nea Krini and Kalamaria, who has been standing in at official functions for Archbishop Christodoulos, who is in the US to undergo a liver transplant. The 300 MPs were also given a portfolio containing copies of the Constitution and the Rules of Parliament.

    On Thursday monring, the new parliament plenary will convene again to elect the parliament president, for which post parliament majority leader Karamanlis has nominated MP from Karditsa Dimitris Sioufas. In the afternoon, the plenary will vote for the House's five vice-presidents, which are distributed among the three to parties, with the first three parliamentary vice-presidential positions going to the ruling ND party, the fourth position going to the main opposition PASOK, and the fifth going to the KKE.

    On Friday, a three-day debate on the new government's Policy Statement begins, to be read out by prime minister Karamanlis, with the discussions ending at midnight Sunday, followed by a vote of confidence in the new government.

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