NEWS

Non-Greeks and diaspora lose out on voting rights

Non-Greek citizens legally living in the country and Greeks living abroad can no longer vote and stand as candidates in local and regional elections, according to a legislative amendment submitted in Parliament by Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis.

The amendment, passed just a few months before municipal and regional authority elections in May, effectively revokes certain provisions of the so-called Ragousis law, named after Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis who drew it up in 2010, which extended voting rights to second-generation immigrants living in the country, and ethnic Greeks based abroad. Citizens of countries in the European Free Trade Area – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – who are legal residents in Greece are also revoked of their right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections, according to the new legislation.

Sources at the Interior Ministry indicated that the move was not an arbitrary revocation of Ragousis’s regulations but an attempt to abide by a decision by the Council of State last year that deemed those regulations to be unconstitutional. According to the ruling by the country’s highest administrative court, the Constitution grants the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to Greek citizens alone. That right cannot be extended to others unless there is a constitutional review, the ruling said.

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