Time in Greece now:   Politics

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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 institution.

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.

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