ND looking to fine-tune stance on citizenship

More than a week after the government announced groundbreaking legislation to award citizenship to some categories of immigrants living legally in Greece, New Democracy is still trying to find a way to oppose the measure without appearing as conservative as the right-wing nationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), sources said yesterday. ND is likely to officially oppose the government’s proposals, which would allow some 250,000 children who have been born in the country to migrant parents to call themselves Greek. Under the draft law, currently the subject of public consultation, if one of the child’s parents has been living in Greece legally for at least five years in a row, then their son or daughter will be able to claim citizenship. ND leader Antonis Samaras has warned the government against «a mass legalization of immigrants without any conditions.» However, some of his party officials have been more outspoken in their criticism of the bill over the past few days. Conservative MP Eliza Vozemberg said that the proposed law threatens to «distort the character of our population.» ND headquarters was quick to dismiss this comment as a personal one, wary of keeping the party from adopting a stance that would be regarded as too extreme by many voters. Christos Zois, a spokesman for New Democracy on immigration issues, said that the party favors the period of legal residence required for immigrants becoming eligible for citizenship to be extended from five years to 10. LAOS leader Giorgos Karatzaferis has adopted a much tougher stance against PASOK’s proposals and has demanded that a referendum be held on the issue.

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