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Greek PM suggests changing the constitution

Greek PM suggests changing the constitutionGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday proposed to revise constitution so Greeks would get "direct democracy". Changes should be related with electing the president and the right to hold referendums on laws.

Tsipras announced that the revision process would start with a wide consultation in all municipalities. Normally, revisions of the Constitution are handled only by the Parliament.

"It is time to set aside fear of the people's judgment... even if the people are not infallible," Tsipras said in a televised speech.

He said people should be allowed to elect the nation's president if efforts by lawmakers fail, as they did last year. Currently president is chosen by parliament.

The people should also be able to reject laws by referendum and propose their own legal initiatives, Tsipras said. But this wouldn’t affect fiscal matters.

Lawmakers should only be allowed to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms in parliament, which stands for 8 years.

Although Greece's main religion remains Orthodox Christianity, the Greek state should also be "religion-neutral" and officials should take civil oaths. Tsipras as a self-admitted atheist was the country's first-ever prime minister to take a civil oath on his election last year.

Even if approved, the constitutional changes cannot be set in motion by the present parliament. They can only be enacted by the legislative body that will emerge after the next elections, which are normally due in 2019.

Tsipras said decisions would be taken in a year's time and could be supported with a referendum on the issue.

During the last four decades the Greek constitution has been revised three times with the last changes coming in 2008.
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