Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The President, elected by Parliament every five years, is Head of State. The Prime Minister is Head of Government. The President of the Republic has limited political power, as most power lies with the government.
The Hellenic Parliament is the supreme democratic institution that represents the citizens through an elected body of Members of Parliament (MPs), whose core activity is legislative work and the exercise of control over Government. It consists of 300 Deputies.
General elections are normally held every four years and the electorate consists of all Greek citizens who are at least 18 years old. To prevent political parties from dividing and to ensure there is always a parliamentary majority, Greece uses a complex proportional representation electoral system. A party must obtain at least 3 percent of the total national vote to qualify for parliamentary seats.
The Greek Constitution establishes two jurisdictions, the administrative and the civil/criminal. The Hellenic Council of State is the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece. The Council of State, the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court and the Court of Audit which has jurisdiction on the audit of the expenditures of the State, local government agencies and other legal entities are the highest courts in the nation.
Greece is part of many international organizations, such as NATO (since 1952) and the EU (since 1981).
- The restoration of democracy in July 1974, after the military junta of 1967-1975, signaled a turning point in Modern Greek political history. The current period is known as The Third Republic (1974 – present). Three major decisions were taken by the “national unity” government: First, to organize free parliamentary elections for the election of a constitutional assembly; second, to organize a referendum on the question of the monarchy – which was rejected, and third, to legalize the Communist Party (KKE), which had previously been considered illegal.
- The Greek Independence Day is celebrated on March 25th, a day marking the commencement of the Greek people’s successful struggle against the Ottoman Empire (1821-1830), which led to the establishment of an independent state.
- The National Flag of Greece consists of four white and five blue alternating horizontal stripes, with a white cross on the upper left corner. Blue and white are the national colours of Greece, as blue symbolizes the sky and seas and white denotes the purity of the Greek independence struggle. The cross represents the Christian religion. The nine blue-and-white horizontal stripes of the flag stand for the nine syllables of the Greek motto Eleftheria i Thanatos (Freedom or Death).