The Hellenic Parliament
(Greek: Ελληνικό Κοινοβούλιο, transliterated Elliniko Kinovoulio), in Greek known as Voulí ton Ellínon (Greek: Βουλή των Ελλήνων, literally Parliament of the Hellenes) is the parliament of Greece, located in the Old Royal Palace, overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens. The Parliament is the supreme democratic institution that represents the citizens through an elected body of Members of Parliament (MPs).
Constitutional monarchy, 1843–1862
The first national
parliament of the independent Greek state was established in 1843, after the September 3rd Revolution, which forced King Otto to grant a constitution. The Constitution of 1844 established a constitutional monarchy under the decisive power of the monarch, who exercised legislative power jointly with the elected House of Representatives and the appointed Senate. It also established the Ministers' accountability vis-à-vis the acts of the monarch who was appointing and suspending them.
Crowned republic, 1864–1909
The current building
(Old Royal Palace) in 1876
The Parliament in session in the Old Parliament House, at the end of the 19th century
In October 1862 a rising wave of discontent led the people and the military to rebel again against King Otto and oust him along with the Wittelsbach dynasty. The revolt marked the end of constitutional monarchy and the beginning of a crowned democracy with George Christian Wilhelm of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sønderburg-Glücksburg dynasty as monarch.
The Constitution of 1864
created a single-chamber (unicameral) Parliament, elected for a four-year term, and abolished the Senate. Moreover, the King preserved the right to convoke ordinary and extraordinary parliamentary sessions, and dissolve Parliament at his discretion, as long as the Cabinet signed and endorsed the dissolution decree. With the revisions of 1911 and 1952 it lasted more than a century, with one of its most important elements being the restoration of the principle of popular sovereignty.
Constitution of 1911
In 1911, a revision
of the constitution resulted in stronger human rights, the reinforcement of the Rule of Law and the modernization of institutions, among them the Parliament. With regard to the protection of individual rights the most noteworthy amendments to the Constitution of 1864 were a more effective protection of individual security, equality in taxation, the right to assemble and the inviolability of the domicile.
Furthermore, the Constitution
facilitated expropriation so that land be allocated to poor farmers, while at the same time guaranteeing judicial protection of property rights. Finally, it was the first time that the Constitution made provision for mandatory and free education for all, while the process of Constitutional revision was simplified.
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