Following the July 5 2015 Greek referendum where the people of Greece voted ‘NO’ to Europe’s harsh bailout terms and refused the Troika draft agreement, the Greek parliament ignored the will of the people and agreed to the demands of European creditors.
The question many are now asking is whether the blatant disregard for the will of the people of Greece constitutes a breach of Greece’s constitution?
What is the role of a referendum under Greece’s constitution?
While the result of a referendum is not always legally binding, it nonetheless provides an explicit political mandate to the government which has to be followed. A referendum cannot be based on an a priori deception. The results cannot be ignored in a democracy.
The referendum was held while the Tsipras government had already decided to cave in to the creditors.
Neither the Parliament nor the government can rescind the VOTE of the Greek people on the July 5 2015.
Under a democracy, the government has a responsibility to implement the NO vote in the Referendum, which was sponsored by the Syriza government in the first place.
If it is not willing to respond to the demands of the Greek people it must resign.
It is important at this stage that the Greek people question the legality of the parliamentary decision. It is worth noting that the Supreme Special Court (Ανώτατο Ειδικό Δικαστήριο) endorsed the holding of the Referendum.
What must now be established is the constitutionality of the parliament’s denial of the Referendum procedure and its de facto endorsement of the YES Vote. That decision has to be challenged. And this must be done before a final binding agreement with the creditors is reached.
The complete and detailed final text of the bailout agreement will most likely not be made public.
It should be noted that many features of this agreement, including those outlined in Tsipras’ 13 page document are in violation of Greece’s constitution. (e.g. articles 22-23 pertaining to labour and social rights).
An ad hoc bailout agreement negotiated by bureaucrats cannot override precise clauses contained in the country’s constitution. That is ultimately the objective of the creditors: undermine the premises of Greek democracy.
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