Amendment seeks to abolish diaspora vote restrictions

Amendment seeks to abolish diaspora vote restrictions

Interior Minister Makis Voridis submitted an amendment to Parliament on Monday abolishing diaspora Greeks’ voting restrictions. The amendment was tabled in the wake of comments by Theodora Tzakri, a SYRIZA MP responsible for diaspora affairs, in an interview with the National Herald, that Greeks living abroad were being subject to “unjust and degrading limitations” with regard to their right to vote in Greece’s national elections. She said the leftist party would remove these restrictions if it returned to power.

According to the amendment tabled on Monday, the additional criteria that are necessary for the registration of interested parties in the special electoral lists abroad are abolished (length of stay within Greek territory, submission of a tax return).

Moreover, the Election Directorate of the Ministry of Interior is the body that decides on the acceptance or rejection of the application for registration in the special electoral lists abroad. In addition, it also abolishes the Special Inter-Party Committee that had been assigned the task of examining objections to rejections of registration requests in the special electoral rolls and to other responsibilities regarding applications.

Recently passed legislation gives all Greek citizens living abroad the right to vote in the next national election if they can prove that they have lived continuously in Greece for two years in the last 35 years. This can be validated by presenting a variety of documentary evidence, which among others includes the national service certificate, proof of social security contributions and degrees from Greek universities.

Kathimerini recently reported that the government is preparing an online registry for Greeks living abroad in a bid to strengthen diaspora ties with the homeland as well as enhance public diplomacy and nation branding.

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