Timing of national elections is pivotal

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 5:15 GMT
Candidates’ fates could hang in the balance depending on which census the poll will be based.
Timing of national elections is pivotal

The timing of the national elections will be heavily influenced by whether they are based on the 2011 census or the most recent in 2021. According to sources at the Ministry of Interior, if elections are held after February, they will be based on the most recent census data. If they are held sooner, it is up to the government to decide whether to issue the presidential decree to hold them depending on the results of the most recent census.

According to Dora Antoniou's article for kathimerini, current MPs and cadres who have expressed an interest in running as candidates are on pins and needles as the final announcements on the legal population and the finalization of the election date may have a crucial impact on their chances of being elected or not.

The key date is February 21 as this is, according to Thanos Thanopoulos, president of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), in comments to Kathimerini, the final act of the census which began in 2021.

According to the Constitution (Article 54, Paragraph 2), the number of deputies in each electoral district is determined by presidential decree, based on the district’s legal population, which is derived, according to the last census, from those registered in the relevant demographic registers, as determined by law.

The results of the census shall be deemed to have been published on the basis of the data one year from the last day of the census.

In essence, from February 21, 2023 onward, and once the ELSTAT statistical agency has announced the data of the legal population of the country, elections will necessarily be held on the basis of the new census. Otherwise, a government source said, there is a question of invalidity of the elections and objections.

According to Thanopoulos, ELSTAT will release figures on the country’s legal population on December 30. These are the statistics that show who votes and where they vote. In other words, citizens were asked in the census to identify where they reside permanently, where they are registered, and, by extension, where they exercise their right to vote. The Ministry of Interior can begin allocating seats in constituencies based on the new data immediately following the announcement of the legal population figure.

The total number of seats in the Parliament will not change – 300 seats will remain. The resulting changes will affect the distribution of seats in the constituencies: Some will lose seats and some will be strengthened. 


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