Greece, also known as Hellas, is the birthplace
of politics and democracy. Its democratic ideals inspired,
among others, the framers of the US constitution. The present
Greek Constitution, voted in 1975 and amended in 1986, defines
the country's political system as a Parliamentary Democracy
headed by a President.
Legislative powers are exercised by a single Chamber
Parliament (the "Vouli") and executive powers
are vested in the Government and the President. The Prime
Minister, whose Government must enjoy the confidence of
the Parliament, has extensive powers. The judiciary is
independent. Civil, political and human rights are constitutionally
guaranteed. General elections for the 300 parliamentary
seats are held every four years. The President of the
Republic is elected by the members of Parliament for a
five-year term, renewable only once.
Mr. Karolos Papoulias is the President of the Hellenic
Republic and Mr. Konstantinos Karamanlis is the Prime Minister.
The Flag: The National Flag
of Greece consists of four white and five blue alternating
horizontal stripes, with a white cross on the upper inner
corner. Blue and white are the national colours of Greece.
Greece in the world: Greece
is a member of UN, IMF, CSCE, and other major Western
and European institutions such as the OECD, NATO, WEU,
Council of Europe and the European Community which she
joined in 1981. The country's commitment to the European
Union enjoys overwhelming political support.
Education: Greece spends
4.5% of its GDP on education, which is compulsory for
nine years and free of charge at all levels in any state
Welfare: Two main social
insurance organisations known by their Greek acronyms
as IKA (for labourers) and OGA (for farmers) cover more
than 80% of the working population.