Political Organization of Greece
The political structure of Greece knows 2011, three levels of government with effect from 1 January.
The administration at the state level is carried out by seven decentralized authorities (singular modern Greek Αποκεντρωμένη Διοίκηση Apokendromeni Diikisi ), which are headed by a Secretary General ( Γενικός Γραμματέας Genikos Grammateas .
At the regional level, Greece is divided into thirteen regions (singular περιφέρεια periferia ), which are ruled by a governor ( περιφερειάρχης periferiarchis ) and a regional council ( περιφερριακό συμβούλιο periferiako ). The division of the regions into 54 prefectures, which existed until 2010, has been abolished.
The municipal level is made up of 332 municipalities (singular δήμος dimos ), in which a mayor ( δήμαρχος dimarchos ) and a municipality council ( δημοτικό συμβούλιο dimotiko symvoulio ) are directly elected every five years. In the municipalities, which are partly similar in size and structure to German rural districts , issues that were previously assigned to the prefectures are also decided. Within the municipalities, there is a subdivision into municipality districts (singular δημοτική ενότητα dimotiki enotita eigtl. 'Municipality unit'), which exactly correspond to the municipality boundaries until 2010. At the same time, the municipalities are subdivided into urban districts (singular δημοτική κοινότητα dimotiki kinotita ) or local communities ( τοπική κοινότητα topiki kinotita ), which in turn originated from the previous municipality districts and are still represented by a local council and a head.
Outside the actual administrative structure is Mount Athos ( Άγιο Όρος Ágio Óros 'Holy Mountain'). Greece exercises full sovereignty (through an appointed governor) over the territory, but grants a traditional right to full internal autonomy . All residents of the area automatically acquire Greek citizenship, the jurisdiction is directly under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople .
Political structure since 2011
The decentralized authorities (singular Greek Αποκεντρωμένη Διοίκηση Apokendromeni Diikisi ) serve to organize the state administration. They are headed by a Secretary General ( Γενικός Γραμματέας Genikos Grammateas ) appointed by the Greek central government . They cover the area from one to three regions; the North and South Aegean regions are administered by the Aegean Decentralized Authority , which is based in Piraeus, outside of its actual territory.
|Peloponnese West Greece Ionio||Patras|
The 13 regions have their own administration and a governor ( Greek περιφερειάρχης periferiarchis ) as head of government, who is elected directly by the people together with the regional council ( Περιφερειακό Συμβούλιο Periferiakó Symvoúlio ). For the composition of the prefectural councils and the governors, see Regional elections in Greece 2010 . The 74 regional districts roughly correspond to the former prefectures, which, however, have been expanded to include numerous districts in the island regions. Among other things, they play a role in the allocation of seats in the regional councils, which are allocated to the regional districts in proportion to the number of inhabitants.
The Greek regions are divided into regional districts (singular Περιφερειακή Ενότητα Periferiaki Enotita ); The seats in the regional council are distributed proportionally to these units according to the number of inhabitants. In many cases they correspond to the areas of the prefectures that existed until 2010 , but numerous smaller regional districts have also been created - especially in the area of the island regions and in the case of the densely populated region of Attica.
The 332 Greek municipalities elect a municipal council ( δημοτικό συμβούλιο dimotiko symvoulio ) and a mayor ( δήμαρχος dimarchos ) every five years . The following key applies to the number of council mandates (municipalities that are made up of more than six previous municipalities receive the number of mandates of the next higher level):
The municipal districts (singular ενοτική κοινότητα enotiki kinotita ) are sub-units of the municipalities that do not elect their own representation; they serve exclusively to distribute responsibilities at the level of the municipality itself. For example, deputy mayors can be entrusted with the responsibility for one or more municipal districts. The municipal districts correspond to the areas of the municipalities before 2011. Former municipalities that had no further subdivision are also municipal districts or local communities of the new municipalities.
City districts and local communities
Urban districts (singular δημοτική κοινότητα dimotiki kinotita ) or local communities (singular τοπική κοινότητα topiki kinotita ) serve as sub-units with self-administration . These correspond to the areas of the municipalities as they existed until 1997 and which in turn formed municipal districts from 1997 to 2010 (singular δημοτικό διαμέρισμα dimotiko diamerisma ). Together with the election of the municipal councils, individual representatives (singular εκπρόσωπος ekprosopos ) or councils (singular συμβούλιο της δημοτικής / τοπικής κοινότητας symvoulio tis dimorikis / topos symvoulio tis dimorikis ) are elected in these local units . The councils are presided over by a chairman ( πρόεδρος proedros ), who is chosen from the list that has received the most votes. The 2011 census also shows local communities without residents.
- all areas with more than 2000 inhabitants
- all areas on islands with over 1000 inhabitants
- all areas that extend over the entire area of an island.
- all areas in municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants
All other areas are local communities.
The following applies to the number of representatives of these local units:
|Resident local community||Mandates||Residents of the municipality||Mandates|
In contrast to ancient Greece, modern Greece has a strong centralized tradition. Under the first Greek governor Ioannis Kapodistrias , the Greek territory was divided into thirteen districts (singular Greek τμήμα tmima ) and these were further divided into provinces ( επαρχία eparchia ), which, however, were to be governed centrally by the nation state. The main goal of Kapodistrias was the disempowerment of the local ruling families, who had almost absolute influence in their area - he fell victim to the offspring of one of these families in an assassination attempt in 1831.
The British Naval Intelligence Division noted in its extensive work on Greek geography in March 1944 on the meaning of the term decentralization in Greece:
“In Greece, the word 'decentralization' does not, as usual, involve the transfer of greater power to the locally elected representatives, but the concentration of power in the hands of the local representatives of the central power, that is, the governors-general and the nomarchs [heads of the prefecture; the translator]."
The Bavarian administrative officials who came to Greece with King Otto I adhered to the centralistic principle. In 1833 the state was divided into ten prefectures (nomí) with 47 smaller units. In addition, the municipal organ of the city or municipality was created under the term dímos . In 1912, a second communal organ for smaller, rural settlements was created under the term community or rural community (kinótita) . Later constitutions (1927, 1952, 1968 and 1974) put the determination of local and regional concerns in the hands of the citizens, but without ever actually implementing this with corresponding laws.
The largest administrative division in Greece in the 20th century was the Diamerisma ( Greek Διαμέρισμα ). 10 Diamerismata, each roughly corresponding to a geographical area, had existed since 1913 with the end of the Balkan Wars . The Diamerismata were each headed by a Governor General (Genikos Diikitis), who was appointed directly by the central government in Athens and who held the rank of minister. With the exception of the four Diamerismata established after the Balkan War, Thrace and East Macedonia (or West Thrace), West Macedonia, Crete and Epirus, the remaining six Diamerismata had a more symbolic character; These diamerismata did not develop any essential administrative activity. Shortly after the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas began in 1936, Athens also received a governor-general.
The number of prefectures (nomí) has increased steadily since the founding of the Greek state in 1830 and the establishment of the prefectures in 1833. Essentially responsible for this development was the expansion of the Greek national territory through the increase in territories in the first and second Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913 (Epirus, West Macedonia, Central Macedonia, East Macedonia, West Thrace) and, as a result of the Berlin Treaty of 1878 including the successor regulations, the assignment of Thessaly. In addition, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the further subdivision of existing prefectures and the creation of new prefectures from existing sub-areas of existing ones took place. The number of prefectures grew continuously. In 1896 Greece had 15 prefectures: Attica and Viotia, Achaia and Elis, Messenia, Larisa, Trikala, Aetolia-Acarnania, Arcadia, Argolis and Corinthia, Fokida and Fthiotida, Laconia, Cyclades, Corfu, Kefallinia as well as Arta and Zakynthos. In 1928 there were already 37 prefectures compared to the ten prefectures of 1833. Compared to the current situation, the following prefectures were nonexistent: Thesprotia, Evrytania, Karditsa, Kastoria, Grevena, Fokida, Pieria, Imathia, Xanthi and Viotia (Boeetia). The prefectures of the Peloponnese peninsula did not change. In 1936, under the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas, area corrections were made to the existing prefectures and the prefecture of Thesprotia was created.
In the 1930s, the nomarchs were not allowed to be residents of the nomos they were supposed to preside over for three years before they were appointed by the Greek interior minister of the central government in Athens. This regulation applied not only to the nomarch, but also to his or her wife. The regulation extended not only to resident status, but also to the exercise of political rights, such as the right to vote. There was also a "blocking period" of three years for both nomarchs and their wives. This regulation should prevent an interference of private interests with the prefecture to be administered. The nomarch had extensive duties and powers, including health care, public order, maintenance of traffic routes and public buildings, collecting and administering taxes and duties, and overseeing government spending. The power of the nomarchs in the centralistic sense increased further during the Metaxas dictatorship, when in 1938 the nomarchs were subordinated directly to the governors general and thus in direct "order" to the king. Thus the nomarchs also became commanders of all law enforcement forces in the respective nomos, with the exception of the army.
In 1955 the division into 51 prefectures (nomí) was established in Greece, which now corresponds to today's national territory, but the prefects of these areas were still appointed by the national interior ministry. These prefectures were divided into 147 smaller units, the eparchíes ( Greek επαρχίες , provinces', singular επαρχία eparchía ). These provinces , led by the provincial chief (Eparchos) , were subordinate to the nomarch and were also appointed by him. As with the Diamerismata, the provinces played an administrative role, especially in the areas that had been acquired since 1912; in the other parts of the country their meaning was more symbolic than a continuation of historically determined areas and landscapes. In 1938 Greece had 139 provinces.
The administrative units Dimos ( Δήμος ) and Kinotita ( Κοινότητα ) were only understood as sub-units of the administrative structure until 1912 (first municipal reform); they formed the plain below the prefecture (nomós) or the province (eparchía). From 1912 (first municipal reform), these administrative units were nominally strengthened and defined. A Dimos as an administrative unit was reserved for a village that (with the villages immediately surrounding it) had a population of more than 5000. This definition resulted in the number of 73 Dimi in all of Greece in 1944. Typically this concerned the administrative offices of provinces. Hardly any prefecture had more than two dimi, with the exception of the prefectures of Attica-Viotia, Thessaloniki and Argolida-Korinthia. A Kinotita was defined as a locality or locality with immediately surrounding hamlets as soon as it exceeded the population of 300 and did not exceed the population of 5000. Deviating from this definition, Kinotites could also be set up for isolated localities with fewer than 300 inhabitants, for example on small islands or in remote parts of north-west Greece. Even a school was not an essential facility in such cases. In 1938 this resulted in over 5600 Kinotites. From 1833 onwards, the mayors ( δήμαρχος dímarchos ) and community leaders ( Πρόεδρος Proedros ) were appointed by the king. In 1864 the king's appointment was lost; the mayors were then elected by the municipality they presided over. Until 1930 only men were eligible to vote, from 1930 also women over 30 years of age, provided that they could read and write. The 1927 constitution, which granted women the right to vote, also determined the election of a local council and stipulated that only Greek citizens could exercise the right to stand for election. The mayors were primarily responsible for the role of head of municipal administration (for example, registering births and deaths, drawing up the electoral roll and drawing up lists for compulsory military service). The mayor and thus the municipality did not have any control over the finances, especially the right to collect local taxes. The dictator Ioannis Metaxas restricted these rights again after he came to power in 1936. In 1967 Greece had 130 municipalities (Dimi).
The smallest administrative unit, without any further administrative importance, was the Synikismos ( συνοικισμός , 'settlement', 'spots'). This could consist of a few houses or a single monastery. In 1938 there were 11,130 Synikismi in Greece .
Only after Greece joined the European Community in 1981 did plans for a defined middle administrative level begin to mature. The Maastricht Treaty , which was finally adopted in 1992 and as a result of which the Committee of the Regions was established, which involved considerable funding for European regions, required the states to be organized according to regional criteria. In 1987, a presidential decree created 13 development regions (periféries) , which are roughly comparable to the regions of other countries, but were controlled by the state itself. Finally, in 1994, a smaller structure was created at the level of the existing prefectures, which is determined directly by the voters with a directly elected council and a prefect. Between 1995 and 1999, around 250 state competencies were transferred to the prefectures. In the course of this redistribution of responsibilities, the legitimacy of the prefectures was also strengthened: In 1994, the prefect and the prefectural council were elected for the first time by the population of each prefecture.
The 1997 Kapodistrias program
In 1997, with the Ioannis Kapodistrias program ( Greek Σχέδιο Καποδίστρια Schédio Kapodístria ), Law No. 2539/1997 was passed on a comprehensive municipal reform, which reduced the number of previous cities and rural communities from a total of 5775 to only 1033 and the provinces (eparchíes) abolished. For the term “Dimos”, which previously only included urban communities, the reform meant a change in meaning, as it now represented the lowest administrative level in rural areas as well. As a result of this reform, the implementation of which lasted until 2002 and the cost of which is estimated at around 1,025 billion drachmas (around three billion euros), a total of around 25,000 elected community representatives lost their offices, and many villages were grouped together to form municipalities comparable to German offices or joint municipalities . In addition to streamlining the administration, this also took account of the rural exodus that has continued since the 1930s . The Kapodistrias plan was laid out in three stages, in the last stage the communities newly created in the first stage were to be combined into instances of a likewise newly designed administrative unit, the so-called Symbolitíes ( Συμπολιτεες ).
In order to legitimize the newly created administrative structures at the municipal level, elections were held for the first time in October 1998 for every Dimos and every Kinotita. Regional elections followed in 2002 and 2006.
The laws on the political structure and the competencies of the respective units according to the Kapodistrias Plan were regulated in Articles 101 and 102 of the constitution in its version from 2001.
Prefectures (nomí) see list of former prefectures of Greece
The prefectures and prefectural districts of Attica were represented by a prefectural council ( Greek Νομαρχιακό Συμβούλιο Nomarchiakó Symvoúlio ), which was directly elected by the voters of the respective area for a period of four years. Depending on the number of inhabitants, this council had 21, 25, 31 or 37 members. These elected a prefectural commission ( Νομαρχιακή Επιτροπή Nomarchiakí Epitropí ) and the prefect ( Νομάρχης Nomárchis ) every two years . In addition, there were three inter- prefecture councils that combined several areas into super-prefectures , namely Rodopi-Evros, Drama-Kavala-Xanthi and Athens-Piraeus . The umbrella organization was the Enosi Nomarchiakon Aftodiikiseon Ellados ( Ένωση Νομαρχιακών Αυτοδιοικήσεων Ελλάδος - ENAE 'Union of Prefectural Self-Governments of Greece').
Towns and municipalities
See List of Municipalities in Greece (1997–2010) .
The Greek cities or municipalities ( Δήμοι Dími ) were represented by a local council ( Δημοτικό Συμβούλιο Dimotikó Symvoúlio ) with eleven to 41 members. They were headed by a mayor ( Δήμαρχος Dímarchos ) and a municipal commission ( Δημαρχιακή Επιτροπή Dimarchiakí Epitropí ), the size of which, like that of the municipal council, was based on the number of inhabitants.
The towns or rural communities ( Κοινότητες Kinótites ) had only one community leader ( πρόεδρος Proedros , occasionally Κοινοτάρχης Kinotárchis ) and a municipal council ( Κοινοτικό Συμβούλιο Kinotikó Simvoulio ) from seven to eleven members.
Legal regulations allowed the separation of units with at least 1500 inhabitants from a municipality for the purpose of establishing a new one, as well as the possibility of municipality mergers. The rural communities of Tsaritsani , Vrachasi and Zoniana were newly created in 2006; the rural communities of Nea Palatia , Oropos and Skala Oropou were merged in 2002 to form the municipality of Oropos. On the occasion of the municipal reform of 1997, former municipalities incorporated into cities with a population of 300 or more had the right to their own head (Próedros), who represented the interests of the district before the municipal council. The further subdivision of the municipalities into districts ( Dimotiká diamerísmata , singular Δημοτικό διαμέρισμα Dimotikó diamérisma ) mainly served statistical purposes.
The 2010 Kallikratis Law
The administrative structure introduced in 1997 has been viewed as in need of further reform since 2005. Drafts for a further local government reform under the heading Kapodistrias 2 (based on Kapodistrias 1) saw a reduction in the number of parishes (Dimi and Kinotites) from 1034 (914 Dimi and 120 Kinotites) to 400 to 450 (or 500) new parishes, all of them Dimi, before. As in 1997, the new communities to be created were to be created by amalgamating existing communities. The former borders of the provinces (eparchies) are also used to help draw the boundaries, although their number (147) does not correspond to the planned number of 400 to 450 (or 500) new municipalities. 200 of the new communities to be created should orientate themselves on the borders of the former provinces.
In addition to the reform of the municipal level, the prefectural level was also to be reformed: the plans initially provided for a reduction of the 54 prefectures and prefectural districts to twelve to 17 (or 20) newly created prefectures. In analogy to the municipalities, existing prefectures are to be combined into one.
An alternative proposal published in 2003 provided for the reduction of the number of municipalities from the original 1033 to 400 as the first level of administration. The second level of administration should be the administrative regions, the number of which should decrease from 13 to four (Northern Greece, Western Greece, Central Greece and Islands). The administrative level of the 54 prefectures or prefectural districts should be dropped without replacement. The 16 federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany with 82 million inhabitants were cited as examples and orientation points for this proposal.
The reform plans started after the change of government in 2009. The Greek financial crisis gave them a special urgency. With the Kallikratis Act presented in May 2010, a radical administrative reform was implemented: the administrative levels were reduced from five to three, the number of municipalities from 1,034 to 325. The previous 54 prefectures were replaced by 13 autonomous regions with an elected governor; the 13 state administrative regions were replaced by seven administrative directorates with a secretary general appointed by the government. The number of administrative offices in the municipal districts and municipal companies was reduced from around 6,000 to 2,000.
The reform came into force on January 1, 2011; the local elections on November 7th and 14th, 2010 were based on the new administrative structure.
The regional layout of five municipalities was abandoned in 2019, in their place twelve new municipalities were created and the total number of Greek municipalities increased to 332. The local elections on May 26, 2019 were already carried out according to the corrected administrative structure.
The traditional geographical division of Greece into ten regions or landscapes ( Greek γεωγραφικά διαμερίσματα geografika diamerísmata , such as 'geographical districts', singular γεωγραφικό διαμέρισμα geografiko diamérisma ) has no administrative significance. Essentially, it corresponds to the current division into regions, with the southern and northern Aegean together forming one region, the three periféries of Macedonia and Thrace as well as Athos divided into the (today Greek) areas of the two historical landscapes and the prefectures of today's western Greece depending on the location Peloponnese or a region of the rest of mainland Greece and Euboea ( Greek Υπολοιπή Στερεά Ελλάδα και Εύβοια ).
- Northern Greece ( Greek Βόρεια Ελλάδα Voria Ellada ): Thrace, Macedonia and Thessaly
- Central Greece ( Greek Κεντρική Ελλάδα Kendriki Ellada ): Ionian Islands, Euboea and the other mainland regions except Attica
- Islands ( Greek Νησιά Nisia ) or Aegean Islands and Crete
See also: NUTS: EL
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