New Obstacle for New Democracy Plan for Greeks Abroad Vote

Ιntraparty committee reconvenes Oct. 22, 2019. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Just when it seemed the new New Democracy government had enough support from rivals for a plan to let Greeks living in the Diaspora be able to vote in national elections, an amendment limiting the right to those out of the country for less than 30 years isn’t workable because state officials said there’s no way to really determine that.

While the proposal would prohibit those living outside Greece for more than 30 years from voting, raising questions of parity, the term limit put forward by the KKE Communists needed to help get enough votes in Parliament for the plan’s passage hit the snag, said Kathimerini.

An intraparty committee was to reconvene Oct. 22 to discuss the plan and the problem and Interior Minister Panagiotis Theodorikakos suggested there shouldn’t be a retroactive effect, and only apply to those who move from Greece in the future, the paper said, shutting out those who had already moved away and adding to the confusion.

While 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 on its own.

Speaking after an Oct. 21 meeting, Theodorikakos said that the government still wants to find a way 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 New Democracy, which has 158 votes in the 300-member Parliament, needs a super-majority of 200, or at least 42 votes from the outstanding 142, with its bitter rival, the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA ousted in July 7 snap elections holding 86.

The government plan would give the right to vote to diaspora Greek with a tax registration number, and that voting rights will be exercised in embassies and consulates, including a postal vote in some cases although it wasn’t said if electronic voting was on the table.

It also proposes increasing the number of MPs elected from a state list to 15 from 12 but KKE raised another hurdle, reportedly insisting on the physical presence of voters at embassies and consulates and other venues, and even rejected the right to a postal vote.

The MeRA25 party of former SYRIZA finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said that it would also oppose the initiative, saying it was an attempt to “deceive” diaspora Greeks and to “violate” their voting rights.

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