Greece Country Info


Short name: GREECE Official name: Hellenic Republic

Local short form: Ellas or Ellada Local long form: Elliniki Dhimokratia

Area: 131,940 sq km

Capital: Athens

Independence: 1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)

National Holiday: Independence Day, 25 March (1821)

Constitution: 11 June 1975; amended March 1986

Population: 10,623,835 (July 2001 est.)

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Ethnicity: Greek 98%, other 2%

Languages: Greek 99% (official), English, French

Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%


Location: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey

Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 22 00 E

Area: total: 131,940 sq km land: 130,800 sq km water: 1,140 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Alabama

Land boundaries: total: 1,210 km border countries: Albania 282 km, Bulgaria 494 km, Turkey 206 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 228 km

Coastline: 13,676 km

Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation territorial sea: 6 NM

Climate: temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain: mostly mountains with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m highest point: Mount Olympus 2,917 m

Natural resources: bauxite, lignite, magnesite, petroleum, marble, hydropower potential

Political System

Greece is a parliamentary republic based on the separation and balancing of legislative, executive and judicial powers. The Constitution is the highest law in the Republic of Greece.

The President

The President of the Republic regulates the functions of the powers of the State. He is elected by Parliament for a term of five years and his office is incompatible with any other office, position, or function. To be elected President the person should receive a two-thirds majority of the total number of members of Parliament. He appoints the Prime Minister and, at the recommendation of the latter, he also appoints the rest of the members of the Government and the Deputy Ministers. Also the president represent the State in its relations to other States, declare war, conclude treaties of peace, alliance, economic cooperation and participation in international organizations or unions and proclaims referendums. He has the right of veto for the laws passed by Parliament.

President: Karolos Papoulias


The Government consists of the Cabinet which comprises the Prime Minister and Ministers. The Government determines and directs the general policy of the State, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the laws. The Prime Minister shall safeguard the unity of the Government and direct the activity thereof and that of public services in general with a view to implementing Government policy within the framework of the law. The Government must enjoy the confidence of Parliament. The members of the Cabinet and the Deputy Ministers shall be jointly responsible for the general policies of the Government.

Prime minister: Papandreou, George (since 6 October 2009)


The Constitution of 1975, as revised in 1986, defines the political system of Greece as a Parliamentary Democracy with a President as head of state. In other words, the system is centred around the Parliament, one of the two legislative authorities of the country. The other is the President of the Republic.


Justice is administered by the courts, which consists of regular judges who enjoy personal and functional independence. There is a Supreme Court, Appeal Courts and First Instance Courts. A Special Supreme Tribunal deals with the remedy of conflicts between the courts and administrative authorities, or between the Council of State, which is the highest instance, and the regular administrative courts of the one part and of the other part the civil or penal courts, or, finally, between the Council of Comptrollers and the rest of the courts.

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