DIASPORA

Diaspora vote faces new hurdle

diaspora-vote-faces-new-hurdle

An intraparty committee will reconvene on Tuesday to discuss ruling New Democracy’s initiative to grant full voting rights to diaspora Greeks after a technical snag emerged during Monday’s session concerning the proposal by the Communist Party (KKE) that only those who have been absent from Greece for less than 30 years should be eligible.

More specifically, the particular proposal would be practically impossible to implement as it was deemed that Greek state authorities are currently unable to establish the exact amount of years someone has lived outside the country.

For this reason, Interior Minister Panagiotis Theodorikakos proposed that the provision in question should not have retroactive effect, and only apply to those who move from Greece in the future.

Although KKE spokesman Yiannis Giokas acknowledged the problem, he said his party is standing by its proposal and expects the Interior Ministry to find other solutions to resolve the technical issue.

Speaking after Monday’s meeting, Theodorikakos said that the government’s position is to do everything it can to make it easier for all Greek citizens living abroad who are on the electoral rolls to finally be able to vote from their place of residence.

But, he clarified, “what everyone in and outside of Greece must know is that to do so, the bill needs to be voted on by 200 lawmakers,” adding, “As you know, ND has only 158.”

The government’s initiative foresees that the right to vote will be granted to diaspora Greek with a tax registration number, and that voting rights will be exercised in embassies and consulates, with the right to a postal vote being granted in certain cases. It also proposes increasing the number of MPs elected from a state list to 15 from 12.

However, the KKE spokesman reportedly raised further hurdles, insisting on the physical presence of voters at embassies and consulates and other venues, and even rejected the right to a postal vote.

Meanwhile, the MeRA25 party of former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said it will oppose the initiative, describing it as an attempt to “deceive” diaspora Greeks and to “violate” their voting rights.