Freedom in the World
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Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
In October 2009, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement returned to power, winning national elections and ending five years of rule by the center-right New Democracy party. The riots of late 2008 continued into early 2009 with the shooting of a police officer by the militant leftist group, Revolutionary Struggle, in January. In December, the country’s debt reached critical levels, leading to social unrest.
In December, Greece’s debt reached over 400 billion dollars, its highest level in modern history, leading to considerable concern across Europe about its impact. Spending cuts announced that month aimed at restoring international confidence in the country’s economy were met with public protests.
Greece is an electoral democracy. All 300 members of the unicameral Parliament are elected by proportional representation. The largely ceremonial president is elected by a supermajority of Parliament for a five-year term. The current president, Karolos Papoulias of PASOK, was elected unopposed in 2005. The prime minister is chosen by the president and is usually the leader of the majority party in Parliament.
Women lack specific legislation to deal with domestic violence and face discrimination in the workplace. Women currently hold 17 percent of the seats in Parliament. Trafficking in women and children for prostitution remains a problem. While the government has attempted to address the issue in recent years, international NGOs continued to express concern over the country’s inadequate punishment of trafficking offenders and the complicity of some officials in trafficking.