Greece operates as a presidential parliamentary republic, according to its Constitution. The Prime Minister is the head of the government while legislative powers belong to the Hellenic Parliament. There are 300 Members of Parliament, each elected for a four-year term. Much like the United States, Greece has a judiciary branch, which is separate from its legislative and executive branches. The Hellenic Parliament is located in the Old Royal Palace, the first royal palace of modern Greece, at Syntagma Square in Athens.
Greece's Parliamentary System
Parliament acts as the legislative branch in Greece, with 300 members elected by votes of proportional representation by its constituents. A party must have a nationwide vote tally of at least 3 percent in order to elect members of Parliament. Greece's system is a bit different and more complex than other parliamentary democracies such as the United Kingdom.
The President of the Hellenic Republic
Parliament elects the president, who serves a five-year term. Greek law limits presidents to only two terms. Presidents can grant pardons and declare war, but a parliamentary majority is needed to ratify these actions, and most other actions Greece's president performs. The formal title of Greece's president is President of the Hellenic Republic.
Prokopios Pavlopoulos, commonly shortened to Prokopis, became president of Greece in 2015. A lawyer and university professor, Pavlopoulos had served as the country's Minister of the Interior from 2004 to 2009. He was preceded in office by Karolos Papoulias.
In Greece, which has a parliamentary style of government, the real power is held by the Prime Minister who is the "face" of Greek politics. The President is the head of state, but his role is mainly symbolic.
Prime Minister of Greece
The prime minister is the head of the party with the most seats in Parliament. They serve as the government's chief executive.
Alexis Tsipras, a socialist, is the Prime Minister of Greece. Tsipras had served as prime minister from January 2015 to August 2015 but resigned when his Syriza party lost its majority in Greek Parliament. Tsipras called for a snap election, which was held in September 2015. He regained the majority and was elected and sworn in as Prime Minister after his party formed a coalition government with the Independent Greeks party.
Speaker of Greece's Hellenic Parliament
After the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament (formally called the President of Parliament) is the person with the most authority in Greece's government. The Speaker steps in to serve as acting president if the president is incapacitated or out of the country on official government business. If a president dies while in office, the Speaker carries out the duties of that office until a new president is elected by Parliament.
Nikos Voutsis, a Greek politician who served as the Minister of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction in the First Cabinet of Alexis Tsipras, the Prime Minister, has been the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament since October 2015.