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Five Arrested on Election Fraud Charges in Central Greece

Election Fraud Greece
Identity cards and cash were discovered in the car of the candidate’s aides. Credit: Hellenic Police

Five people were arrested on Saturday evening in Karditsa, central Greece, suspected of attempted election fraud.

Among the suspects were three associates of the opposition SYRIZA party candidate, George Vaiopoulos.

In their car, police discovered 197 forged identity cards as well as a bag with 114 closed envelopes, each containing the MP candidate’s business card and five ballot papers with the “crossed” name of the candidate.

A total of 6,060 euros was found in the possession of two of those arrested.

Election fraud targeting Roma community in Greece

Police suspect that the candidate’s associates were planning to bribe voters in the Roma settlement of Karditsa to vote for their boss.

The District Attorney of Karditsa is investigating the incident.

The vast majority of the Roma in Karditsa live in the Mavrika settlement which is located 3 km from the city centre, as well as in the Sofades municipality.

The city’s biological treatment plant is situated within a distance of less than 700 meters from Mavrika’s main settlement.

The Mavrika settlement was built on land purchased by the Municipality with the aim to relocate Roma families and there are approximately 1200 people living in this area.

The settlement has relatively good amenities and every family lives in proper housing, thanks to the loans granted to them in the early 2000s – a measure which was implemented at the national level and through which reportedly 12,500 Roma benefitted from loans.

Sofades is a municipality in the vicinity of Karditsa Municipality (approximately 17 – 18 Km) where there is one of the largest Roma communities (more than 3500 residents). Some of the actions implemented through the ROMED2 Programme affect this nearby community as well.

Tension at Boston Consulate over the electoral process

Meanwhile, SYRIZA of America condemns what it calls a verbal attack on its election representative during voting at the Boston Consulate on Saturday.

According to an announcement a governing New Democracy official claiming to be an “election supervisor”, stormed the consulate building and attacked the head of the SYRIZA State ballot, Othon Iliopoulos, an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.

“SYRIZA America denounces the incident of thuggish behavior against the head of the national ballot of SYRIZA Othon Iliopoulos, during the voting at the Consulate in Boston,” says the announcement and adds:

“Around 3:00 p.m. and while the voting was progressing smoothly in a friendly atmosphere, the executive of the New Democracy Giorgos Laskaris stormed the Consulate premises announcing he is an ‘election supervisor’ and, brandishing his party credentials, demanded that the SYRIZA candidate Othon Iliopoulos leave the Consulate premises.

“He responded to K. Iliopoulos’ calm refusal to step aside by storming the voting room, demanding that the process be interrupted and that Mr. Iliopoulos leave the Consulate,” the SYRIZA America statement reads.

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