NEWS

Elections boycott on the cards

As Greeks head to the polls on Sunday, residents from the island of Leipsoi and members of a single fathers group are expected to boycott the elections in a bid to push forward their respective demands. The Aegean island's municipality has decided to shut down voting booths this weekend after their island was isolated three years ago when their ferry link with Piraeus was cut. «The island's economic limits are being tested,» Mayor Benetos Spyrou told Kathimerini. «A state that cannot offer basic goods to its citizens cannot demand that they take part in elections. Freedom to transportation is a basic right,» he added. A weekly ferry route to Piraeus was re-introduced in the spring but residents say this is not enough. A ferry service linking the island with Rhodes was also stopped about 12 months ago in a move that further harmed local tourism. «The tourism season has been lost,» Spyrou added. As of late yesterday, there had been no response from the Interior Ministry over the electoral boycott. Some 700 people are registered to vote on Leipsoi on Sunday. The Association for Male and Paternal Dignity (SYGAPA) is also calling on its members to stay away from the polls, as it argues that they are being discriminated against by the system. SYGAPA President Nikos Spitalas said that handouts offered in elections speeches are aimed mainly at families and divorced women, while single fathers do not have the same legal standing. «What happens to the fathers?» he said. SYGAPA numbers some 1,200 members. Spitalas also called on the 20,000 fathers who have contacted the group for help over the last two years to join in the boycott.

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