NEWS

Court casts doubt over migrant citizenship law

The Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, cast doubt on Tuesday on recent legislation that granted citizenship and voting rights to second-generation immigrants living in the country.

Known as the Ragousis law, after Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis, who drew it up, legislation passed through Parliament in early 2010 allowed those who had been born to immigrant parents that had been living in Greece legally for five years to obtain Greek citizenship as long as they had studied at a Greek school for at least six years. The legislation was opposed by New Democracy and its leader Antonis Samaras.

The Council of State questioned in a ruling on Tuesday whether these criteria were suitable for deciding a person’s citizenship and whether stronger ties with Greece should be required.

The court also deemed unconstitutional the part of the law that allows non-Greek citizens to vote and stand as candidates in local and regional elections. Judges said there had to be a constitutional review for this legislation to apply.

The Council of State ruled on the matter after a Greek citizen lodged a complaint about the Ragousis law in April 2010. The ruling will not automatically lead to the law being repealed as it could be appealed at the Supreme Court.

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