Greeks who reside abroad but have lived in Greece for two years in the last 35 years can register to vote in national elections via an online platform activated recently, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.
With its new information campaign underway in digital and print media abroad, the ministry also noted that diaspora Greeks must have submitted a tax return during the current or previous tax year to be allowed to register at apodimoi.gov.gr and thus participate in Greek national elections.
In late 2019, for the first time in history, all the parties in Parliament agreed to make it easier for the Diaspora to vote from their places of residence.
However, in order to achieve consensus, the government retreated from its goal to allow the Diaspora to vote without restrictions, and accepted two main requirements imposed by the opposition: Those eligible to vote must have had a two-year stay in Greece for the last 35 years and those over 30 must be tax-registered in Greece.
Until 2019 Greece was the only country in Europe, and perhaps the entire western world, where expatriates who are full citizens are denied the right to vote in Greek elections from the country of their residence, either by casting a ballot at the Greek embassy or through postal voting.
Online platform for Greeks residing abroad
The new online platform paving the way for Greek citizens who live abroad to vote in the next national elections back home is now live.
The platform allows Diaspora Greeks to register their details so that they can cast their ballot – whenever the next national election takes place – at their place of residence.
The implementation of the 2019 law on the voting rights of Diaspora and overseas Greeks aspires to correct any injustices felt by Greeks living abroad, as they, along with the Irish, were the only European citizens who could not vote in their own country from anywhere in the world, even if they are only away for a few days’ holiday on election day.
It should also be noted that there are no current time constraints on registering online for those wishing to do so. However, as Interior Minister Makis Voridis also pointed out, the entire registration process should be completed within a reasonable timeframe before the elections, just like voter registration within Greece.