Globalization or globalisation is the process of interaction and integration among people and governments worldwide. As a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, globalization is considered by some as a form of capitalist expansion which entails the integration of local and national economies into a global, unregulated market economy. Globalization has grown due to advances in communication technology. With the increased global interactions comes the growth of international trade and culture. Globalization is an economic process of interaction and integration that's associated with social and cultural aspects; however and diplomacy are large parts of the history of globalization, modern globalization. Economically, globalization involves goods, the economic resources of capital and data; the expansions of global markets liberalize the economic activities of the exchange of goods and funds. Removal of Cross-Border Trades barriers has made formation of Global Markets more feasible; the steam locomotive, jet engine, container ships are some of the advances in the means of transport while the rise of the telegraph and its modern offspring, the Internet and mobile phones show development in telecommunications infrastructure.
All of these improvements have been major factors in globalization and have generated further interdependence of economic and cultural activities around the globe. Though many scholars place the origins of globalization in modern times, others trace its history long before the European Age of Discovery and voyages to the New World, some to the third millennium BC. Large-scale globalization began in the 1820s. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the connectivity of the world's economies and cultures grew quickly; the term globalization is recent. In 2000, the International Monetary Fund identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade and transactions and investment movements and movement of people, the dissemination of knowledge. Further, environmental challenges such as global warming, cross-boundary water, air pollution, over-fishing of the ocean are linked with globalization. Globalizing processes affect and are affected by business and work organization, socio-cultural resources, the natural environment.
Academic literature subdivides globalization into three major areas: economic globalization, cultural globalization, political globalization. The term globalization derives from the word globalize, which refers to the emergence of an international network of economic systems. One of the earliest known usages of the term as a noun was in a 1930 publication entitled Towards New Education, where it denoted a holistic view of human experience in education; the term'globalization' had been used in its economic sense at least as early as 1981, in other senses since at least as early as 1944. Theodore Levitt is credited with popularizing the term and bringing it into the mainstream business audience in the half of the 1980s. Since its inception, the concept of globalization has inspired competing definitions and interpretations, its antecedents date back to the great movements of trade and empire across Asia and the Indian Ocean from the 15th century onward. Due to the complexity of the concept, various research projects and discussions stay focused on a single aspect of globalization.
Sociologists Martin Albrow and Elizabeth King define globalization as "all those processes by which the people of the world are incorporated into a single world society." In The Consequences of Modernity, Anthony Giddens writes: "Globalization can thus be defined as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa." In 1992, Roland Robertson, professor of sociology at the University of Aberdeen and an early writer in the field, described globalization as "the compression of the world and the intensification of the consciousness of the world as a whole."In Global Transformations, David Held and his co-writers state: Although in its simplistic sense globalization refers to the widening and speeding up of global interconnection, such a definition begs further elaboration.... Globalization can be on a continuum with the local and regional. At one end of the continuum lie social and economic relations and networks which are organized on a local and/or national basis.
Globalization can refer to those spatial-temporal processes of change which underpin a transformation in the organization of human affairs by linking together and expanding human activity across regions and continents. Without reference to such expansive spatial connections, there can be no clear or coherent formulation of this term.... A satisfactory definition of globalization must capture each of these elements: extensity, intensity and impact. Held and his co-writers' definition of globalization in that same book as "transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions—assessed in terms of their extensity, intensity and impact—generating transcontinental or inter-regional flows" was called "probably the most widely-cited definition" in the 2014 DHL Global Connectiveness Index. Swedish journalist Thomas Larsson, in his book The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization, states that globalization: is the process of world shrinkage, of distances getting shorter, things moving closer.
It pertains to the increasin
Accession of Turkey to the European Union
Turkey is negotiating its accession to the European Union as a member state, following its application accede to the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the EU, on 14 April 1987. After the ten founding members, Turkey was one of the first countries to become a member of the Council of Europe in 1949; the country was an associate member of the Western European Union from 1992 to its end in 2011. Turkey signed a Customs Union agreement with the EU in 1995 and was recognised as a candidate for full membership on 12 December 1999, at the Helsinki summit of the European Council. Negotiations for full membership were started on 3 October 2005. Progress was slow, out of the 35 Chapters necessary to complete the accession process only 16 had been opened and one had been closed by May 2016; the early 2016 refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union was intended to accelerate negotiations after previous stagnation and allow visa-free travel through Europe for Turks. Since 2016 accession negotiations have stalled.
The EU has criticized Turkey for human rights violations and deficits in rule of law. In 2017, EU officials expressed that planned Turkish policies violate the Copenhagen criteria of eligibility for an EU membership. On 26 June 2018, the EU's General Affairs Council stated that "the Council notes that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union. Turkey’s accession negotiations have therefore come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing and no further work towards the modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union is foreseen." After the Ottoman Empire's collapse following World War I, Turkish revolutionaries led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk emerged victorious in the Turkish War of Independence, establishing the modern Turkish Republic as it exists today. Atatürk, President of Turkey, implemented a series of reforms, including secularisation and industrialisation, intended to "Europeanise" or Westernise the country. During World War II, Turkey remained neutral until February 1945.
The country took part in the Marshall Plan of 1947, became a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, a member of NATO in 1952. During the Cold War, Turkey allied itself with the United States and Western Europe; the Turkish expert Meltem Ahıska outlines the Turkish position vis-à-vis Europe, explaining how “Europe has been an object of desire as well as a source of frustration for Turkish national identity in a long and strained history”. The country first applied for associate membership in the European Economic Community in 1959, on 12 September 1963 signed the "Agreement Creating An Association Between The Republic of Turkey and the European Economic Community" known as the Ankara Agreement; this agreement came into effect the following year on 12 December 1964. The Ankara Agreement sought to integrate Turkey into a customs union with the EEC whilst acknowledging the final goal of membership. In November 1970, a further protocol called the "Additional Protocol" established a timetable for the abolition of tariffs and quotas on goods traded between Turkey and the EEC.
On 14 April 1987, Turkey submitted its application for formal membership into the European Economic Community. The European Commission responded in December 1989 by confirming Ankara's eventual membership but by deferring the matter to more favourable times, citing Turkey's economic and political situation, as well its poor relations with Greece and the conflict with Cyprus as creating an unfavourable environment with which to begin negotiations; this position was confirmed again in the Luxembourg European Council of 1997 in which accession talks were started with central and eastern European states and Cyprus, but not Turkey. During the 1990s, Turkey proceeded with a closer integration with the European Union by agreeing to a customs union in 1995. Moreover, the Helsinki European Council of 1999 proved a milestone as the EU recognised Turkey as a candidate on equal footing with other potential candidates; the next significant step in Turkey–EU relations came with the December 2002 Copenhagen European Council.
According to it, "the EU would open negotiations with Turkey'without delay' if the European Council in December 2004, on the basis of a report and a recommendation from the Commission, decides that Turkey fulfills the Copenhagen political criteria."The European Commission recommended that the negotiations should begin in 2005, but added various precautionary measures. The EU leaders agreed on 16 December 2004 to start accession negotiations with Turkey from 3 October 2005. While Austria and Germany wanted to leave open the possibility that negotiations with Turkey would lead to a privileged partnership, less than full membership, accession negotiations were launched with the "shared objective" of membership. Turkey's accession talks have since been stalled by a number of external problems. Both Austria and France have said. In the case of France, a change in its Constitution was made to impose such a referendum, but another constitutional change has enabled the parliament to prevent such a referendum.
The issue of Cyprus continues to be a major obstacle to negotiations. European officials have commented on the slowdown in Turkish reforms which, combined with the Cyprus problem, led the EU's Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn in March 2007 to warn of an impending ‘train crash’ in the negotiations. Due to these setbacks, negotiations again came to a halt in December 2006, with the EU freezing talks in 8 of the 35 key areas under negotiation. In December 2009, the Republic of Cyprus blocked 6 chapters of Turkish accession negotiations, including
The Hellenic Parliament 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, it is a unicameral legislature of 300 members, elected for a four-year term. During 1844–63 and 1927–35 the parliament was bicameral with an upper house, the Senate, a lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, which retained the name Vouli. Several important Greek statesmen have served as Speakers of the Hellenic Parliament; 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 established the Ministers' accountability vis-à-vis the acts of the monarch, appointing and suspending them.
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 Parliament, elected for a four-year term, abolished the Senate. Moreover, the King preserved the right to convoke ordinary and extraordinary parliamentary sessions, 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. 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, 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. The Constitution of 1927 made provisions for a head of state that the Parliament and the Senate would elect to serve a five-year term; this "President of the Republic" would be held unaccountable from a political point of view. It recognized the status of political parties as organic elements of the polity and established their proportional representation in the composition of parliamentary committees; this reform of the Constitution is a part of the Second Hellenic Republic, in reference to the Greek State using a republican democracy as a form of governance.
This constitutional change was initiated in January 1924 and initiated on April 13th, 1924 by the Fourth National Assembly. Following World War II, the development of parliamentary institutions resumed in 1948 and in the beginning of the 1950s; the Constitution of 1952 consisted of 114 articles and to a large extent was attached to the Constitutions of 1864 and 1911. Its central innovations were the explicit institutionalization of parliamentarianism and the consolidation for the first time of the voting rights of women, as well as of their right to stand as candidates for parliamentary office. In February 1963 the government of Konstantinos Karamanlis submitted a proposal for an extensive revision of the Constitution, yet the proposal was never put into practice because only a few months after its submission, the government resigned and Parliament dissolved. After seven years of military dictatorship, on 8 December 1974, a referendum was conducted to decide the nature of the form of government.
By a majority of 69.18%, the Greeks decided against a constitutional monarchy and for a parliamentary republic. The Constitution of 1975 was drafted using those of 1952 and 1927, as well as the draft Constitutional revision proposals of 1963, while numerous clauses were based on the West German Constitution of 1949 and the French Constitution of 1958, it included various clauses on individual and social rights, in line with developments at that time, introduced a presidential/parliamentary democracy, wherein the head of state maintained the right to interfere in politics. Greece's current Constitution has been revised three times, with the first one taking place in 1986, when the responsibilities of the President of the Republic were curtailed. In 2001, a extensive revision took place as a total of 79 articles were amended; the new, revised Constitution introduced new individual rights, such as the protection of genetic data and identity or the protection of personal data from electronic processing, new rules of transparency in politics.
It modernized parliamentary functions, propped up decentralization, elevated the status of fundamental Independent Authorities into Constitutional institutions, adopted its provisions on MPs' disqualifications and incompatibilities to current reality a
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon is an international agreement that amends the two treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed by the EU member states on 13 December 2007, entered into force on 1 December 2009, it amends the Maastricht Treaty, known in updated form as the Treaty on European Union or TEU, the Treaty of Rome, known in updated form as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union or TFEU. It amends the attached treaty protocols as well as the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community. Prominent changes included the move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in at least 45 policy areas in the Council of Ministers, a change in calculating such a majority to a new double majority, a more powerful European Parliament forming a bicameral legislature alongside the Council of Ministers under the ordinary legislative procedure, a consolidated legal personality for the EU and the creation of a long-term President of the European Council and a High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The Treaty made the Union's bill of rights, the Charter of Fundamental Rights binding. The Treaty for the first time gave member states the explicit legal right to leave the EU, established a procedure by which to do so; the stated aim of the treaty was to "complete the process started by the Treaty of Amsterdam and by the Treaty of Nice with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union and to improving the coherence of its action". Opponents of the Treaty of Lisbon, such as former Danish Member of the European Parliament Jens-Peter Bonde, argued that it would centralize the EU, weaken democracy by "moving power away" from national electorates. Supporters argue that it brings more checks and balances into the EU system, with stronger powers for the European Parliament and a new role for national parliaments. Negotiations to modify EU institutions began in 2001, resulting first in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which would have repealed the existing European treaties and replaced them with a "constitution".
Although ratified by a majority of member states, this was abandoned after being rejected by 54% of French voters on 29 May 2005 and by 61% of Dutch voters on 1 June 2005. After a "period of reflection", member states agreed instead to maintain the existing treaties, but to amend them, salvaging a number of the reforms, envisaged in the constitution. An amending "reform" treaty was drawn up and signed in Lisbon in 2007, it was intended to have been ratified by all member states by the end of 2008. This timetable failed due to the initial rejection of the Treaty in June 2008 by the Irish electorate, a decision, reversed in a second referendum in October 2009 after Ireland secured a number of concessions related to the treaty; the need to review the EU's constitutional framework in light of the accession of ten new Member States in 2004, was highlighted in a declaration annexed to the Treaty of Nice in 2001. The agreements at Nice had paved the way for further enlargement of the Union by reforming voting procedures.
The Laeken declaration of December 2001 committed the EU to improving democracy and efficiency, set out the process by which a constitution aiming to achieve these goals could be created. The European Convention was established, presided over by former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, was given the task of consulting as as possible across Europe with the aim of producing a first draft of the Constitution; the final text of the proposed Constitution was agreed upon at the summit meeting on 18–19 June 2004 under the presidency of Ireland. The Constitution, having been agreed by heads of government from the 25 Member States, was signed at a ceremony in Rome on 29 October 2004. Before it could enter into force, however, it had to be ratified by each member state. Ratification took different forms in each country, depending on the traditions, constitutional arrangements, political processes of each country. In 2005, referendums held in France and the Netherlands rejected the European Constitution.
While the majority of the Member States had ratified the European Constitution, due to the requirement of unanimity to amend the treaties of the EU, it became clear that it could not enter into force. This led to a "period of reflection" and the political end of the proposed European Constitution. In 2007, Germany declared the period of reflection over. By March, the 50th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, the Berlin Declaration was adopted by all Member States; this declaration outlined the intention of all Member States to agree on a new treaty in time for the 2009 Parliamentary elections, to have a ratified treaty before mid-2009. Before the Berlin Declaration, the Amato Group – a group of European politicians, backed by the Barroso Commission with two representatives in the group – worked unofficially on rewriting the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. On 4 June 2007, the group released their text in French – cut from 63,000 words in 448 articles in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe to 12,800 words in 70 articles.
In the Berlin Declaration, the EU leaders unofficially set a new timeline for the new treaty: 21–23 June 2007: European Council meeting in Brussels, mandate for Intergovernmental Conference 23 July 2007: IGC in Lisbon, text of Reform
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus, a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC incorporation with Athens. A center for the arts and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, industrial, maritime and cultural life in Greece. In 2012, Athens was ranked the world's 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study. Athens is a global one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe.
It has a large financial sector, its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, the second largest in the world. While at the same time being the sixth busiest passenger port in Europe; the Municipality of Athens had a population of 664,046 within its administrative limits, a land area of 38.96 km2. The urban area of Athens extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 over an area of 412 km2. According to Eurostat in 2011, the functional urban area of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union, with a population of 3.8 million people. Athens is the southernmost capital on the European mainland; the heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery.
Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament and the so-called "architectural trilogy of Athens", consisting of the National Library of Greece, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. Athens is home to several museums and cultural institutions, such as the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, 108 years it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, making it one of only a handful of cities to have hosted the Olympics more than once. In Ancient Greek, the name of the city was Ἀθῆναι a plural. In earlier Greek, such as Homeric Greek, the name had been current in the singular form though, as Ἀθήνη, it was rendered in the plural on, like those of Θῆβαι and Μυκῆναι.
The root of the word is not of Greek or Indo-European origin, is a remnant of the Pre-Greek substrate of Attica. In antiquity, it was debated whether Athens took its name from its patron goddess Athena or Athena took her name from the city. Modern scholars now agree that the goddess takes her name from the city, because the ending -ene is common in names of locations, but rare for personal names. During the medieval period, the name of the city was rendered once again in the singular as Ἀθήνα. However, after the establishment of the modern Greek state, due to the conservatism of the written language, Ἀθῆναι became again the official name of the city and remained so until the abandonment of Katharevousa in the 1970s, when Ἀθήνα, Athína, became the official name. According to the ancient Athenian founding myth, the goddess of wisdom, competed against Poseidon, the god of the seas, for patronage of the yet-unnamed city. According to the account given by Pseudo-Apollodorus, Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring welled up.
In an alternative version of the myth from Vergil's Georgics, Poseidon instead gave the Athenians the first horse. In both versions, Athena offered the Athenians the first domesticated olive tree. Cecrops declared Athena the patron goddess of Athens. Different etymologies, now rejected, were proposed during the 19th century. Christian Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος or ἄνθος meaning "flower", to denote Athens as the "flowering city". Ludwig von Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω, stem θη- to denote Athens as having fertile soil. In classical literature, the city was sometimes referred to as the City of the Violet Crown, first documented in Pindar's ἰοστέφανοι Ἀθᾶναι, or as τὸ κλεινὸν ἄστυ. In medieval texts, variant names include Setines and Astines, all derivations involving false splitting of p
Greek government-debt crisis
The Greek government-debt crisis is the sovereign debt crisis faced by Greece in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007–08. Known in the country as The Crisis, it reached the populace as a series of sudden reforms and austerity measures that led to impoverishment and loss of income and property, as well as a small-scale humanitarian crisis. In all, the Greek economy suffered the longest recession of any advanced capitalist economy to date, overtaking the US Great Depression; as a result, the Greek political system has been upended, social exclusion increased, hundreds of thousands of well-educated Greeks have left the country. The Greek crisis started in late 2009, triggered by the turmoil of the world-wide Great Recession, structural weaknesses in the Greek economy, lack of monetary policy flexibility as a member of the Eurozone,and revelations that previous data on government debt levels and deficits had been underreported by the Greek government; this led to a crisis of confidence, indicated by a widening of bond yield spreads and rising cost of risk insurance on credit default swaps compared to the other Eurozone countries Germany.
The government enacted 12 rounds of tax increases, spending cuts, reforms from 2010 to 2016, which at times triggered local riots and nationwide protests. Despite these efforts, the country required bailout loans in 2010, 2012, 2015 from the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, negotiated a 50% "haircut" on debt owed to private banks in 2011, which amounted to a €100bn debt relief. After a popular referendum which rejected further austerity measures required for the third bailout, after closure of banks across the country, on June 30, 2015, Greece became the first developed country to fail to make an IMF loan repayment on time. At that time, debt levels had reached some € 30,000 per capita. Between 2009 and 2017 the Greek government debt rose from €300 bn to €318 bn, i.e. by only about 6%. Greece, like other European nations, had faced debt crises in the 19th century, as well as a similar crisis in 1932 during the Great Depression. In general, during the 20th century it enjoyed one of the highest GDP growth rates in the world.
Average Greek government debt-to-GDP for the entire century before the crisis was lower than that for the UK, Canada or France, while for the 30-year period until its entrance into the European Economic Community, the Greek government debt-to-GDP ratio averaged only 19.8%. Between 1981 and 1993 it rose, surpassing the average of what is today the Eurozone in the mid-1980s. For the next 15 years, from 1993 to 2007, Greece's government debt-to-GDP ratio remained unchanged, averaging 102% – a value lower than that for Italy and Belgium during the same 15-year period, comparable to that for the U. S. or the OECD average in 2017. During the latter period, the country's annual budget deficit exceeded 3% of GDP, but its effect on the debt-to GDP ratio was counterbalanced by high GDP growth rates; the debt-to GDP values for 2006 and 2007 were established after audits resulted in corrections according to Eurostat methodology, of up to 10 percentage points for the particular years. These corrections, although altering the debt level by a maximum of about 10%, resulted in a popular notion that "Greece was hiding its debt".
The 2001 introduction of the euro reduced trade costs between Eurozone countries, increasing overall trade volume. Labour costs increased more in peripheral countries such as Greece relative to core countries such as Germany without compensating rise in productivity, eroding Greece's competitive edge; as a result, Greece's current account deficit rose significantly. A trade deficit means that a country is consuming more than it produces, which requires borrowing/direct investment from other countries. Both the Greek trade deficit and budget deficit rose from below 5% of GDP in 1999 to peak around 15% of GDP in the 2008–2009 periods. One driver of the investment inflow was Greece's membership in the Eurozone. Greece was perceived as a higher credit risk alone than it was as a member of the Eurozone, which implied that investors felt the EU would bring discipline to its finances and support Greece in the event of problems; as the Great Recession spread to Europe, the amount of funds lent from the European core countries to the peripheral countries such as Greece began to decline.
Reports in 2009 of Greek fiscal mismanagement and deception increased borrowing costs. A country facing
May 2012 Greek legislative election
The May 2012 Greek legislative election was held in Greece on Sunday, 6 May, to elect all 300 members to the Hellenic Parliament. Under the constitution, it was due to be held in four years after the previous election; the European sovereign debt crisis and the Greek financial crisis, in particular, have led to an escalated political crisis. There was an announcement by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that a referendum would take place to determine whether Greece would accept the next bailout deal with the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank; however such a referendum never took place. The parties of the opposition and politicians from within the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement have demanded an early election since. At the same time and strikes in Greece have been commonplace, with some turning violent. Social unrest in the country is the result of a series of austerity packages passed by the Greek parliament since 2010. On 4 November 2011, there was a vote of confidence in Parliament, narrowly won by the government of George Papandreou by a vote of 153 to 145 in the 300-seat body.
Although a number of Panhellenic Socialist Movement MPs said they would not support the government in the vote of confidence, all 152 did support the government after PASOK's leader Papandreou agreed to step down as Prime Minister in order for a government of national unity to take over. Following the vote of confidence one expelled PASOK member was re-admitted to the party, raising the Papandreou majority to 153 seats. Despite the narrow victory, Papandreou resigned a few days making way for a three-party "grand coalition" caretaker government under Lucas Papademos, a former ECB vice president, with the support of PASOK, ND and LAOS. However, LAOS resigned over further austerity measures. Voting is mandatory. 250 seats will be distributed on the basis of proportional representation, with a threshold of 3% required for entry into parliament. The other 50 seats will be awarded to the party or coalition that wins a plurality of votes, according to the election law. Parliamentary majority is achieved by a party or coalition of parties that command at least one half plus one of total seats.
Blank and invalid votes, as well as votes cast for parties that fall short of the 3% threshold, are disregarded for seat allocation purposes. In a speech to parliament on 4 November, Evangelos Venizelos said that the caretaker government would last until February. In late December 2011, it was decided that the election would be pushed back to late April, in order to allow the technocrat government to pass austerity measures. Five parties were elected at the 2009 election, but during the course of the parliament changes in party memberships, resulted in representation for a further two official parties and two parliamentary caucuses. An additional 18 members sat as independents. Leaders of official parties enjoy certain privileges that permit them equal footing to one another and to the prime minister, both in parliamentary procedure and in pre-election debating. A total of 31 parties participated in the election: Panhellenic Socialist Movement, Evangelos Venizelos New Democracy, Antonis Samaras Communist Party of Greece, Aleka Papariga Coalition of the Radical Left – Unitary Social Movement, Alexis Tsipras Popular Orthodox Rally, Georgios Karatzaferis Democratic Alliance, Dora Bakoyannis Social Agreement, Louka Katseli Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis Action – Liberal Alliance, Stefanos Manos and Grigoris Vallianatos Ecologists Greens, six-member committee Union of Centrists, Vassilis Leventis Liberal party, Manolis Kaligiannis Golden Dawn, Nikolaos Michaloliakos No: The coalition of Democratic Revival and United Popular Front, Stelios Papathemelis and 3-member committee I Don't Pay Movement, Vasilis Papadopoulos Communist Party of Greece / Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Greece, four-member committee Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left, 21-member committee Organisation of Communist Internationalists of Greece, 3-member committee Workers Revolutionary Party, Savas Matsas Organisation for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece, 3-member committee National Unity Association, Nikos Alikakos Society – Political Party of the Successors of Kapodistrias, Michail Iliadis Pirate Party of Greece, Ioannis Panagopoulos Recreate Greece, Thanos Tzimeros Panathinaikos Movement, Yiorgos Betsikas Dignity, alliance of independent candidates, Panayiotis Theodoropoulos Greek Ecologists, Dimosthenis Vergis National Resistance Movement, Ippokratis Savvouras Renewing Independent Left, Renewing Right, Renewing Pasok, Renewing New Democracy, No to War, Party of Action, I Give Away Land, I Pardon Debts, I Save Lives, Panagrarian Labour Movement of Greece, Miltiadis Tzalazidis Regional Urban Development, Nikos Kolitsis Four other parties were banned by the Supreme Court of Greece: National Hope