Rule of Law
Policy Paper: The state of Liberal Democracy in Greece: Is liberalism under threat?

liberal democ
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Greece & Cyprus

Executive Summary

This policy paper embarks on a thorough examination of the state of Liberal Democracy in Greece, employing the Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) as its primary analytical tool. Following a brief theoretical and methodological overview, the analysis underscores the challenges facing liberal democracy at regional and international levels, with a particular focus on the Greek institutional framework. Notably, Greece’s rank at 24th among the 27 EU member states in the Liberal Democracy Index signals significant shortcomings.

The analysis of the Liberal Democracy Index reveals critical vulnerabilities within Greek liberal and democratic institutions, including ineffective checks and balances systems that fail to adequately separate powers, and the government’s inconsistent adherence tosignificant court decisions. Additionally, the limited parliamentary oversight capacity of opposition parties and the low likelihood of legislative bodies initiating investigations into potentially unconstitutional or unethical executive behavior are notable institutional weaknesses.

Drawing from insights gleaned from the Liberal Democracy Index, the paper concludes with targeted policy recommendations aimed at addressing institutional challenges and fortifying the liberal component of Greece’s democratic regime. Key suggestions include establishing a Constitutional Court to safeguard constitutional principles, enhancing the autonomy of independent authorities to curb executive overreach and ensure governance accountability, and reforming the appointment process for supreme court judges to bolster judicial independence.

This policy paper aims to furnish policymakers and stakeholders with a roadmap to navigate the complexities of democratic governance, stressing the necessity of proactive interventions to preserve and strengthen Greece’s democratic institutions.

About the author

Constantinos Saravakos is a PhD candidate in political science in the Department of International and European Studies at the University of Macedonia and he serves as an expert for Greece and Cyprus at the V-Dem Institute (University of Gothenburg). He holds an M.Sc. in Applied Economics and Administration from Panteion University and an M.A. in Political Science and Sociology(Hons) from the University of Athens. He has also received a B.Sc. in Philosophy and History of Science from the University of Athens. He is a member of the Greek Political Science Association and the Economic Chamber of Greece. His primary research interests include regulation, political economy (poverty, inequality, and prosperity), and political parties (democracy, populism, and political behavior). The author would like to thank Antonios Karampatzos, Professor at the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Ioannis Konstantinidis, Associate Professor at the Department of International and European Studies Deputy Head of Department of University of Macedonia, for their useful comments. The author bears sole responsibility for the content of this policy paper.