Before the 1967 coup, executive power was vested in the crown but was exercised by a Council of Ministers appointed by the king and headed by a premier. The 1975 constitution abolished the 146-year-old Greek monarchy and created the office of president as head of state. If a majority in parliament fails to agree on the selection of a president, the office is filled in a general election. The president, who is limited to two five-year terms, appoints the prime minister, who is head of government and requires the confidence of parliament to remain in power. (The constitution was amended in 1986 to reduce the power of the president, limiting his right to dissolve parliament on his own initiative and depriving him of the right to dismiss the prime minister, veto legislation, or proclaim a state of emergency; basically, these powers were transferred to parliament.) The prime minister selects a cabinet from among the members of parliament.
Legislative power is vested in a parliament (Vouli), a unicameral body of 300 deputies elected by direct, universal, secret ballot for maximum four-year terms. A proportional electoral system makes it possible for a party with a minority of the popular vote to have a parliamentary majority. In the 1974 elections, voting was made compulsory for all persons aged 21–70 residing within 200 km (124 mi) of their constituencies. Suffrage is now universal and compulsory at age 18.