NEWS

Turnout a concern at July 7 elections, though many new voters enrolled

TANIA GEORGIOPOULOU

TAGS: Elections

Nearly 600,000 newly registered voters have the right to cast a ballot in the July 7 general elections in Greece, though the Interior Ministry is concerned about turnout due to the timing of the polls in the middle of the summer holidays.

According to ministry figures, 577,771 people (293,515 men and 284,256 women) are eligible to vote for the first time in next month's snap elections. Of these, 519,227 are eligible after coming of age (which was reduced this year to 17 years old from 18) and 58,544 after receiving Greek citizenship.

In last month's European elections, 536,920 new voters cast a ballot, far above the 116,745 citizens who participated in an electoral race for the first time in September 2015.

However, abstention last month came to 41.3 percent, even though this was a slightly better turnout than at Greece's last general elections in September 2015 – a white-knuckle contest that came just two months after the contentious bailout referendum – where abstention came to 43.8 percent.

Participation is mandatory by law for all voters who are below the age of 70 and reside in this country, though it is seldom enforced. In light of the possibility of lower turnout next month, the ministry is reportedly considering a public awareness campaign to encourage voters to participate, even though the date looms near.

Overall, there are 9,903,864 names on Greece's electoral rolls, of which 5,103,442 are women and 4,800,422 are men. Roughly one-fourth of the electoral body is above the age of 71, 1,533,588 voters are in the 60-70 year-old bracket and 1,928,046 are aged 48-59 years old. 

Greeks abroad will not be able to vote in these elections.

The Supreme Court is due to announce which parties and candidates will be running in the snap elections, called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after incumbent SYRIZA defeat in the recent triple polls, on Tuesday.

Under the most recent changes, Greece has 59 electoral districts, with the vote to be conducted at 21,300 polling stations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number of stations is much smaller than in last month's elections, so voters will need to check where they are registered this time around.

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