Mitsotakis Will Meet Rivals Over Diaspora Vote

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressing Greek expatriates in Astoria, New York, on Wednesday, Sep. 25, 2019. (Photo by TNH/Kostas Bej)

ATHENS – Moving to consider giving Greeks in the Diaspora the right to vote in national elections after years of stalling by successive governments, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with opposition party leaders.

There was no explanation whether he would push for it as he was set to meet face-to-face with his bitter foe and the man he ousted in July 7 snap elections, former Premier and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras who reneged on his promise to give the Diaspora the vote and instead came up with a plan to have their votes count only toward the election of 12 of the 300 Members of Parliament and not count at all in determining which party comes to power,

Mitsotakis rejected that out of hand earlier. “The proposal is deeply offending for those who chose to vote abroad. Essentially, it tells them that they cannot vote for a Prime Minister, you will only vote for some lawmakers, therefore these will be second-class citizens and their vote will not be equal,” he told journalists after an event at the Greek consulate in New York.

Mitsotakis, who named The National Herald’s Publisher Antonis H. Diamataris – who took a leave to accept the post – as Deputy Foreign Minister for Greeks Abroad, is having his government devise their own idea for a Diaspora vote.

Previous New Democracy governments also promised to give Greek citizens living abroad the right to vote but reneged, as did SYRIZA during its 4 1/2-year reign when Tsipras repeatedly waffled on what he would do.

Mitsotakis will also meet with center-left Movement for Change leader Fofi Gennimata and the Greek Communist Party’s Dimitris Koutsoumbas as while New Democracy has a majority of 158 votes in the 300-member Parliament it will require 200 votes to approve the right to vote although he could point a finger at parties who reject it if he fails.