The legislation initiative lies in the government, which introduces Bills, and the Parliament which introduces Law Proposals.
All laws are voted (enacted) in a plenary session. They may be voted by standing parliamentary committees (article 70 par. 2 of the Constitution
). In case of the latter, the Plenum subsequently meets to have a debate and vote, in one session (article 72 par. 4 of the Constitution
) . Article 72 par. 1
of the Constitution enumerates Bills and Law Proposals, which depending on their content, belong to the exclusive competence of the Plenum, such as those on the protection of individual rights, the electoral law, or Bills and Law Proposals on the authentic interpretation of statutes. The Plenum also debates and votes Laws which by special provision of the Constitution require a special majority such as amnesty for political offences and recognition of competences (specified in the Constitution) to international organizations.
It is mandatory that an explanatory report is attached to Bills and Law Proposals, as such report elaborates on the purpose of the proposed legislation and indicates the exact wording of current legislation to be amended or repealed. If a Bill or a Law Proposal incurs additional expenses for the State Budget, it then has to be accompanied by a General Accounting Office’s report specifying the amount of the expenditure involved If a Bill results in expenditure or reduction of revenues, a special report regarding the coverage of the expense is attached and it is signed by both the Minister of Finance and the competent Minister. Bills must also be accompanied by an Impact Assessment Report and by a report on the results of the public consultation that took place prior to the submission of the Bill.Furthermore Bills and Law Proposals may be transmitted to the Scientific Agency of the Hellenic Parliament, which submits a review on the proposed provisions..
Amendments and additions to Bills and Law Proposals that are up for voting must be introduced at the latest three days prior to the debate and on Fridays it must take place until 13:00 the latest and may be introduced by Ministers and MPs alike. Amendments submitted by Ministers are also accompanied by a brief Impact Assessment Report.
The elaboration and examination of a Bill or a Law proposal includes two stages that are at least seven (7) days apart. At the first stage a debate in principle and on the articles is conducted and at the second stage a second reading takes place followed by debate and vote by article. During the legislative elaboration of every Bill or Law proposal from the competent standing committee and until the second reading of the relevant articles, every special permanent committee can express its opinion on any specific issue that falls within its competence.
The historically oldest and most significant capacity of the Parliament is its power to enact legislation. This legislative capacity should not be perceived in the strict sense of voting for formal laws. The following list includes instances in which, as specified by the Constitution the Hellenic Parliament enacts general and impersonal rules of law.
- Constitutional Revisions
The Hellenic Parliament votes the revision of the Constitution as an autonomous institution of the polity i.e. without the involvement of the President of the Republic or the government. The revision process which spans two terms in a row, is set forth in article 110
of the Constitution and in article 119
of the Standing Orders. To date, the Constitution of 1975 has been revised thrice: in 1986, 2001 and 2008.
- Voting of the Standing Orders
The Parliament votes autonomously, that is without the involvement of the President of the Republic, the Standings Orders and possible amendments ( article 65 par. 1
of the Constitution)
- Adoption of the budget, financial statement andgeneral balance sheet of the State and the Parliament
- Suspension of a session may not be extended beyond a period of thirty (30) days, nor may such suspension be repeated during the same session without the consent of Parliament.