Greeks abroad to get vote

A law will be passed by Parliament in October that will enable Greeks living abroad to vote in the country’s general elections, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said yesterday as his party voted on the makeup of its new political council. Karamanlis said that it was a «democratic duty» to allow Greeks all over the world to vote in the elections. Under the government’s proposals, Greeks abroad will be able to vote for candidates in the Greek electoral districts in which they are registered. The proposed law, however, will not affect the next general election, which is due to take place by next March, as the legislation will come into effect at a later date. As such, Karamanlis’s pledge did little to dampen speculation that he may call a general election this October. Speaking to his party’s national council, PASOK leader George Papandreou said he was sure there would be early elections as the government «cannot and will not see out its four-year term.» The prime minister did not indicate in his speech to New Democracy’s central committee yesterday if he was set to call a snap election but a number of party members speculated on the issue afterward. Yesterday also saw the members of the political council confirmed after a vote of 525 party delegates. The only major change was Defense Minister Vangelis Meimarakis replacing Athens Mayor and former Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis as one of the seven parliamentary members of the council. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who is not an MP, led the votes for the seven non-parliamentary spots on the council. Lefteris Zagoritis was re-elected as party secretary, garnering 403 votes as opposed to the 87 votes that were cast for the other candidate, former deputy Theodoros Damianos. Karamanlis used his speech as another opportunity to attack PASOK, which he accused of «bombarding» the government with abuse. «People want politicians to speak clearly; they are not willing to put up with slanderous comments,» said Karamanlis.

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