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Law on the Vote of Diaspora Will Not Be Changed, Greek Minister Says

Greek Interior Minister Makis Voridis at the Hellenic Parliament
Greek Minister: Law on the Vote for the Diaspora Will Not Be Changed. Credit: Twitter / Greek Ministry of Interior

The law on the vote for the diaspora will not be changed despite the fact that only 3,500 Greek nationals living abroad have registered to vote in Greece, Interior Minister Makis Voridis told state broadcaster ERT.

A recent law provided that three state MPs will be elected by the Greek diaspora on the state ballot. However, the low turnover in registrations of Greek expatriates to vote in the national elections would challenge the principle of electoral equality by creating a paradox in which these three MPs would each be elected by an electoral body consisting of less than one thousand voters at the very best.

Voridis admitted to ERT that there is a “structural flaw” in the law, namely “a consequence of the compromises” that the ruling New Democracy Party made with the opposition in order to pass a law for the vote of the diaspora. It would otherwise remain unable to vote at all in national elections.

Technically, however, the Minister added, the three MPs elected from the registered Greek expatriate voters would be State MPs, which means they would not directly represent the diaspora by whom they would be elected but the entire state.

Greek diaspora’s right to vote in 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 decided to retreat from its goal to allow the diaspora to vote without restrictions. Two main requirements were accepted and imposed by the opposition in 2021. Those eligible to vote must have had a two-year stay in Greece within the last thirty-five years prior to their application to register to vote. Secondly, those over thirty had to have been tax-registered in Greece in the last two years.

The 2019 law on the voting rights of the diaspora and overseas Greeks aspired 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. This was the case even if they were only away on vacation around election time.

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