NEWS

Polling stations open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Polls open at 7 a.m. tomorrow and close at 7 p.m. and voters will cast their ballots at the same polling stations as they did in the national elections of March 7. There are 9,77,873 million registered voters in Greece, of whom the majority (5 million) are women. Another 35,123 Greeks who live in other EU countries and registered to vote before the April 20 deadline will cast their ballots at Greek embassies today. Tomorrow, 2,577 citizens of other EU countries who have registered to vote in Greece will be able to vote for Greek political parties. Although the campaign has drawn little interest, coming so close after a national election just three months earlier that saw a change of government, turnout is expected to be high as voting is mandatory. Theoretically, voters who do not cast their ballots could face a jail term of between one month and one year and up to three years of being banned from holding office. But, with the scrapping of the electoral booklets that served as a record of voting, it is difficult to imagine how voting will be policed. People who are aged 70 or over are not obliged to vote. Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos appealed to voters to take the election seriously. «Everyone must vote. It is obligatory,» he said. «But above all, the election will determine the future of Europe and the weight of Greece must be felt, its contribution can be decisive,» he said. Voter turnout in the last European Parliament elections in 1999 was 75 percent, about the same as in last March’s national elections.