POWERS

OF THE PRESIDENT

In accordance with article 30 par. 1 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic regulates the functions of the institutions of the Republic. However, his or her powers are limited in comparison with those of the Prime Minister and the Ministers. The powers of the President may be characterized as symbolic, regulatory, legislative, administrative and judicial. They are specifically outlined and restricted by the Constitution, and are governed:

  • By the interpretative rule of article 50, according to which the President of the Republic shall have only those powers that are explicitly conferred upon him by the Constitution and by such laws as are in accordance with it.
  • By the clause of article 35 par. 1, according to which no act of the President of the Republic is valid or may be executed unless it has been countersigned by the competent Minister, apart from the exceptions set out in detail in par. 1 and 2 of the same article.

In particular, the President of the Republic:

  • Shall represent the State internationally, declare war, conclude treaties of peace, alliance, economic cooperation and participation in international organizations or unions and he shall announce them to Parliament, whenever the interest and security of the State so permit. This power is merely symbolic and is in fact exercised by the government (article 36 par. 1).
  • Shall appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister, the Ministers and the Deputy Ministers  (article 37 par. 1).
  • Shall relieve the government of its duties if the latter resigns or loses the confidence of Parliament (article 38 par. 1).
  • Shall give an exploratory mandate in order to ascertain the possibility of forming a Government enjoying the confidence of the Parliament (article 37 par. 2, 3 and 4).
  • Shall convoke Parliament to a regular session once a year and to an extraordinary session whenever he shall judge this to be reasonable (article 40 par. 1).
  • Shall proclaim the commencement and termination of each parliamentary term in person or through the Prime Minister (article 40 par. 1).
  • Shall suspend a parliamentary session, this being a power which the President can exercise at his discretion only once every parliamentary session (article 40 par. 2, 3).
  • Shall dissolve Parliament and call for elections in the following cases laid down by the Constitution: (article 37 par. 3, article 41).
    • If the exploratory mandates fail and the impossibility of forming a government enjoying the confidence of Parliament is confirmed (article 37 par. 3).
    • If two governments have resigned or have been defeated in Parliament and its composition cannot ensure stability of government (article 41 par. 1).
    • In order to deal with a national issue of exceptional importance, on the proposal of the government which has received a vote of confidence (article 41 par. 2).
  • Shall by decree proclaim a referendum on crucial national matters following a resolution voted by an absolute majority of the total number of Members of Parliament, taken upon proposal of the Cabinet.  (article 44 par. 2.1).
  • Shall proclaim by decree a referendum on a Bill passed by Parliament regarding a serious social issue. This shall be countersigned by the Speaker, provided the referendum has been proposed by 120 MPs and been passed by 180 MPs (article 44 par. 2.2).
  • Shall, under exceptional circumstances, address messages to the People with the consent of the Prime Minister. Those messages should be countersigned by the Prime Minister and published in the Government Gazette   (article 44 par. 3).
  • Shall promulgate the laws passed by Parliament within one month of the vote. With the signing of the law the President attests both to the authenticity of the law as well as to the observance of the procedures laid down (article 42 par. 1).
  • Shall publish the laws passed by Parliament. Such publication is the act of the President of the Republic by which he orders the publication of the law in the Government Gazette (article 42 par. 1).
  • Has the right of veto on a Bill passed by Parliament. This right of veto may be exercised within one month of the passing of the Bill and must be accompanied by a statement of the reasons for the President’s veto (article 42 par. 1 and 2).
  • Shall issue regulatory decrees. The Constitution foresees the issue of these decrees by the President of the Republic in the following cases: (article 43)
    • The President shall issue decrees that lay down detailed rules required for the execution of statutes. The Constitution charges the President of the Republic with the execution of statutes, in collaboration with the Minister responsible for proposing and countersigning them. No delegation granted by law is necessary in order for these decrees to be issued  (article 43 par. 1).
    • The President shall issue regulatory decrees with special delegation granted by law on the the proposal of the competent Minister (article 43 par. 2).
    • The President shall issue regulatory decrees for the regulation of matters specified in framework laws, at all times in collaboration with the competent Minister (article 43 par. 4).
  • Shall issue acts with a legislative content. Such acts are emergency decree-laws and are issued upon the proposal of the Cabinet: (article 44).
    • In extraordinary circumstances of urgent and unforeseeable need (article 44 par. 1).
    • In case of war or mobilization owing to external dangers or an imminent threat against national security, as well as in case of an armed coup aiming to overthrow the democratic regime, from the time that the measures referred to in article 48 come into effect, in order to meet emergencies, or to restore as soon as possible the functioning of the constitutional institutions  (article 48 par. 5).
  • Shall proclaim the country to be in a state of siege, in case of war or mobilization owing to external dangers or an imminent threat against national security, as well as in case of an armed coup aiming to overthrow the democratic regime, if the Parliament is absent or if it is objectively impossible that it be convoked in time (article 48 par. 2).
  • Shall appoint the staff of the Presidency of the Republic (article 35 par. 2e).
  • Shall confer the prescribed decorations on nationals and foreigners in accordance with the provisions of the relevant laws (article 46 par. 2).
  • Shall appoint and dismiss public servants, in accordance with the law (article 46 par.1)
  • Is the symbolic head of the Armed Forces and confers ranks on those serving within, as specified by law (article 45).
  • As the representative of the State internationally, he supplies Letters of Credentials to members of Greek diplomatic delegations to foreign countries and receives the credentials from members of foreign diplomatic delegations (article 36 par. 1).
  • Shall have the right to grant pardons. The President may grant pardons, commute or reduce sentences pronounced by the courts, and revoke all consequences at law of sentences pronounced and served. This power is exerted pursuant to a recommendation by the Minister of Justice and after consulting with a council composed in its majority of judges (article 47 par. 1).
  • Shall grant a pardon to a Minister convicted in accordance with article 86 of the Constitution. This right may be exerted only with the consent of Parliament (article 47 par. 2).