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Greece Vows to Abolish All Voting Restrictions for Diaspora

Greece diaspora vote
Credit: Greek Reporter

Greece announced on Monday that it will introduce legislation which will abolish all restrictions regarding voting for diaspora Greeks.

Interior Minister Makis Voridis said an amendment to the current law will be proposed, making it much easier for Greeks in the U.S., Australia, Canada and elsewhere around the globe to vote in Greece’s national elections.

The issue was raised after Theodora Tzakri, a SYRIZA MP responsible for diaspora affairs, said in an interview that Greeks living abroad were being subject to “unfair and devaluing limitations.”

She said the leftist party would remove these restrictions if it returned to power.

In his comments, Voridis said the amendment would be brought before Parliament on Monday.

Government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said Monday noon that “with the legislative initiative of the government, for the first time, Greek voters outside the country have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote from their place of residence.”

She added that “what is proposed is to abolish the precondition of staying in Greece for two years during the last 35 years and the obligation to file a tax return during the current or previous year.”

Greece gives conditional voting rights to Diaspora in 2019

In December 2019, a new law gave all Greek citizens living abroad the right to vote in the next national election if they could prove that they lived continuously in Greece for two years in the last 35 years.

The groundbreaking law allowed the diaspora the right to vote from their place of residence for the first time.

This can be proven by presenting a variety of documentary evidence, which among others includes the national service certificate, proof of social security contributions and degrees from Greek universities.

According to reports, the government is preparing an online registry for the diaspora in a bid to strengthen diaspora ties with the homeland as well as enhance public diplomacy and nation branding.

Although the actual number of potential Greek voters living abroad is not known, the law concerns hundreds of thousands of Greek citizens under the age of 30 who left Greece during the recent financial crisis.

The Greek government has promised that an informational campaign will be launched for diaspora Greeks, laying out the law’s benefits and urging them to take advantage of the new opportunity to vote in Greece’s national elections.

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