The Greek diaspora is voting for the general election on Saturday, one day before polling stations open in Greece.
These are the first elections in which Greeks living abroad can exercise their right to vote from their place of residence, provided they meet the criteria in the relevant legislation.
The first polling station opened in Sydney early on Saturday.
Το πρώτο εκλογικό τμήμα που εγκαινίασε τον θεσμό της ψήφου των Ελλήνων του εξωτερικού ήταν το Σύδνεϋ. Η φωτογραφία από το Σύδνεϋ πλέον ιστορική, απο τις πρώτες ψήφους εφαρμογής του νέου θεσμού#Εκλογές #Εκλογές_2023 #Εκλογές_Αποδήμων #Απόδημος_Ελληνισμός #Greeks_Abroad pic.twitter.com/XAoRMoMS00
— Γιάννης Χρυσουλάκης (@johnchrysoul) May 20, 2023
Greeks waiting in line to vote at the 🇬🇷Embassy in Brussels #ekloges2023 pic.twitter.com/VWPoFn35sK
— Eirini Zarkadoula (@ezarkadoula) May 20, 2023
Time to vote! 🗳️🇬🇷Election process has officially kicked off at the Consulate General of Greece in New York! This is your chance to make your voice heard! 🎉🇬🇷🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/BWflpXT7vI
— Consulate General of Greece in New York (@GreeceinNewYork) May 20, 2023
Until now, Greece was the only country in Europe—and perhaps the entire Western world— where full citizens living abroad were 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.
The 22,816 expatriates whose applications to vote abroad were approved vote in 99 polling stations in 35 countries.
Australia (Melbourne and Sydney),
Austria (Vienna, Salzburg),
Belgium (Brussels, Antwerp),
France (Paris, Strasbourg, Nice, Nantes),
Germany (Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Dresden, Hanover, Nuremberg, Aachen, Wuppertal, Cologne, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Ludwigshafen),
Switzerland (Berne, Geneva, Lausanne),
United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi),
United Kingdom (London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh),
United States (San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Chicago, Tampa),
Spain (Madrid, Barcelona),
Italy (Rome, Milan, Venice),
Canada (Montreal, Toronto),
S. Korea (Seoul),
Cyprus (Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos),
Lithuania (Vilnius, Kaunas),
Luxembourg, Malta (Valetta),
South Africa (Johannesburg),
Netherlands (Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven),
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh),
Sweden (Stockholm, Göteborg, Malme),
Czech Republic (Prague), and
Roughly 96 percent of the voters abroad will be voting in their country of residence while the remaining 4 percent will need to travel to a nearby country as the number of 50 voters needed for a polling station was unmet.
Special rules apply to members of the armed forces, police, fire brigade, and coast guard, enabling them to vote in the areas where they are stationed, and to sailors who happen to be in Greek ports on the day of the elections.
Conditions for Greek diaspora vote in election discouraging
The Greek diaspora will be mostly absent from the parliamentary elections, as only 22,816 out of millions of Greeks residing all over the world will vote.
This is a fiasco for the political parties in Greece, who turned their backs on the diaspora with a new law discouraging Greeks abroad from registering by putting bureaucratic obstacles in their way.
Greek officials had estimated that some 300,000 citizens living outside the country wanted to have a say in the next election.
The new law approved in 2021 allows the diaspora to vote without having to fly back home.
However, the conditions attached for someone to vote from the Greek embassy or consulate of his/her residence were discouraging for much of the diaspora.
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 in the last thirty-five years, which is difficult if not impossible to prove, and those over thirty must be tax-registered in Greece.
The bureaucratic conditions imposed and the cumbersome process of finding and certifying the documents required have been discouraging for most of the diaspora.
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