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Government Proposal for Greek Expat Vote Raises Hope for Unanimous Support

Representatives of Greek parliamentary parties met recently with Takis Theodorikakos, the Greek Minister of the Interior

The Greek Minister of the Interior Takis Theodorikakos sent a letter on Friday to all Parliamentary parties explaining the basic elements of the draft bill that will grant voting rights to Greek expats from their place of residence.

Following meetings between representatives of the parties with the Minister, it looks like a wide consensus could be reached, as the government has tried to combine all proposals so that the bill gets even unanimous support, with 300 positive votes out of a total of 300 MPs.

The basic elements that the Interior Minister analyzed in his letter are:

A. The vote of Greeks abroad registered in the electoral rolls is equal to that of Greek citizens voting in the country, as required by the Constitution. Residents of foreign countries who have the right to vote will vote for the party’s State ballot they choose and their vote will count for the overall election result.

B. Special electoral lists will be created for those Greeks who reside abroad and are registered in the electoral rolls. They will include those who have left Greece up to 30 years ago and have a financial relationship with the country, such as Greek tax ID or kinship with a Greek taxpayer.

C. The voting will be taking place at Greece’s embassies and consulates and at venues that will be agreed upon. Citizens who do not live close to embassies, consulates, or agreed upon venues can mail in their vote.

D. The number of State MPs (those who do not have a specific constituency to represent) will be increased from 12 to 15, to allow candidates from the Greek Diaspora to participate if parties wish to do so.

Lead opposition party SYRIZA proposed that Greeks abroad would have to vote for separate elections where expatriates themselves would elect their representatives for independent constituencies.

However, it seems that it could now accept a proposal where Greek expatriates’ vote would count toward the overall election results, provided that they left the country during the last thirty years and have some kind of financial relationship with Greece.

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