Following the end of the military dictatorship and a referendum rejecting the monarchy a new Greek constitution was signed in 1975. Since then Greece has functioned as a parliamentary democracy with a president as head of state with five-year terms. The president appoints the prime minister. The members of the Cabinet are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister. Legislative power is controlled by a one-chamber parliament of 300 seats, whose members are elected for four-year terms. Voting is compulsory in Greece from the age of eighteen.
The Greek judicial system is divided into civil, criminal and administrative courts.
Greece is divided into fifty-one prefectures, or nomoi-nomos, with one autonomous region called the Ayion Oros on the Mt. Athos which is run by monks.
Greece has long-standing territorial disputes with Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Greece has been part of NATO since 1952.
At the time of writing violent clashes between Greek youth and police have been taking place all over Greece. The violence was triggered by the death of 15-year-old boy at the hands of a policeman. A latent Greek contempt for the police has existed since the days of the dictatorship, when security forces were regarded as defenders of the junta and therefore traitors to the people. The current violence has been fuelled by popular anger over corruption and economic hardship and has shaken the unpopular conservative government of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. Indeed in four years of conservative rule a series of scandals, devastating forest fires and unsuccessful economic measures have erased the optimistic mood of 2004 when Athens hosted the Olympics Games.
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