• Short Summary

    Six million Greeks vote in a referendum next Sunday (8 December) to decide whether their country should be a monarchy or a presidential republic.

  • Description

    Six million Greeks vote in a referendum next Sunday (8 December) to decide whether their country should be a monarchy or a presidential republic.

    The country has already polarized into monarchist and anti-monarchist groups, which have bene setting up committee headquarters throughout Greece to campaign in favour of their beliefs.

    Thirty-four-year-old King Constantine, who fled the country after an abortive attempt to overthrow military rule in December 1967, has stepped personally into the campaign, making a televised appeal to the nation.

    But the anti-monarchists haven't lacked persuasive voices, either. Earlier this week, a group of prominent Greek personalities -- three former Supreme Court Presidents and 46 university professors among them -- appealed to the electorate to vote against restoring the monarchy.

    The Security Police have reportedly taken strict but unobtrusive measures to prevent the two factions from allowing their fervour to degenerate into violence.

    SYNOPSIS: Throughout Greece, monarchists and anti-monarchists have been rallying support for Sunday's referendum, when six-million voters will be asked to choose between a crowned democracy and a presidential republic. Huge portraits of King Constantine, exiled since an abortive counter-coup in 1967, dominate monarchist headquarters in Athens.

    Their cause received a boost last week when King Constantine, himself,appeared on Greek television, promising to submit to the will of the people and to respect democratic principles. Similar headquarters supporting the cause of the exiled king have been set up throughout the country. And behind the scenes there've been strict security precautions to prevent clashes between the opposing factions.

    In Athens, much of the opposition is centred on the Panhellenic Union of centred on the panhellenic Union of Uncrowned Democracy. Propaganda distributed here tends to concentrate on photographs of the king with members of the military junta before his attempted counter-coup.

    There've been reports that the antimonarchists have hired helicopters to bombard outlying villages with propaganda leaflets. They have some influential voices speaking on their behalf, too. Earlier this week, a group of a hundred and twenty-eight prominent Greek personalities, including three former Supreme Court presidents and forty six university professors, called on the Greek people to vote against restoring the monarchy on Sunday.

    Just how the voting will go on Sunday remains a mystery. In last month's general election, about forty-six per cent of all votes cast went to opposition parties which had come out against the monarchy. The government of Constantine Karamanlis has remained strictly neutral over this issue.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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