Why is SYRIZA Alone in Denying Greeks Abroad the Right to Vote?


SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

Since the establishment of the Filiki Etairia in the 19th century, which was designed to assist and promote Hellenism as well as jump-start the Greek fighting spirit leading up to the Greek War of Independence, the Greeks abroad have played a pivotal role in modern Greece’s history.

The Greeks abroad have stood by Greece through the good and the bad times that the nation has gone through, often not getting credit when goings are good and oftentimes receiving a large portion of the blame when things go south. Of course, this sort of rhetoric is in direct conflict with reality. From Benakis to Dracopoulos, there have been many Greeks that have found success outside of Greece's borders and have, against all wisdom, given back to a nation that sometimes has not given them anything in return. They might even be attacked in the press baselessly simply because they are economically well-off and others are jealous.

We, the Diaspora, find ourselves on the front lines of a fight for our rights. The British once had an insurgent population of colonists in the New World, later known as the United States, rebel because of taxation without representation, among other causes. Something similar is happening today in Greece. For decades on end, Greek Americans and Greeks from other parts of the world have invested in their ancestral villages and cities, often against the advice of financial advisors, their chests swelling with patriotism and nostalgia. The Greek state has paraded politicians left and right around the world to Diaspora communities seeking to strengthen bonds but mostly to attract investments that never actually made it to the projects that they were assigned to, but instead lined the pockets of ministers and members of parliament alike. Business people in Greece, on the other hand, would grow wealth through illegal means of contract bidding and kickbacks. Today, though, there is renewed confidence in Greece's government and a government that seems sincere when it says that it wants to reduce the amount of red tape needed to attract Investments that will positively change Greece's landscape both physically and economically.

It boggles my mind how SYRIZA is the only party in the minority of the Hellenic Parliament that seems to totally block any and all conversation around this issue and seems hell-bent on stopping Greeks abroad from being able to vote, or if they do vote, that vote should not count in the national totals.

My question is, what is SYRIZA afraid of? Why do they take it as a certainty that if the Greeks abroad are allowed to vote, they would vote for New Democracy or KINAL? Are they afraid that we are truly independent outside of Greece's borders, unaffected by corrupt media and slanderous daily attacks on Greek television by politicians who serve nobody's purpose but their own?  Are they perhaps afraid of Greeks that graduate from the world's top universities and understand what competition looks like in the marketplace and in the classroom and therefore cannot comprehend some of Greece's labor laws and day-to-day mentality? The bad news for Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA is that Greeks sent a loud and clear message in July 7th’s election that they are ready for a mentality change and a total worldview change that more closely aligns with successful countries of the West and less-so with quasi-communist states of the East. In that endeavor, Greeks will find Greeks who live abroad by their side, and should New Democracy correct the historic wrong of denying them their right to vote, a position upheld only by SYRIZA presently, then we will also speak alongside rational thinking Greeks at the ballot box too.