BRUSSELS – The indignation, frustration and anger of members of the Greek community living abroad and all Greeks was incited by the refusal of SYRIZA (primarily), the KKE, and the MeRA25 to support the government's draft law to lift restrictions on voting for Greeks abroad. The government's proposal received 190 votes, 10 less than the 200 required to pass and immediately after the vote, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made an exclusive statement to The National Herald, also expressing his frustration.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told TNH:
"Today, unfortunately, the country has lost the opportunity to give Greeks living abroad the right to vote unhindered in national elections from their place of residence.
SYRIZA's petty partisan interest vetoed the government's intention to remove any restrictions on the participation of our fellow citizens abroad in the electoral process. And so again, the short-sighted factionalism undermined a national necessity.
It is known that on the initiative of New Democracy, a serious step had already been taken: 15 months ago, for the first time in history, all the parties in Parliament agreed to facilitate, finally, the expatriates to vote from where they live. However, in order for there to be consensus of all powers, the government then agreed to set the conditions for a two-year stay in Greece for the last 35 years and for those over 30 to have no outstanding tax obligations.
The government did not propose any conditions. These were a demand of the opposition. It retreated, however, in the name of consensus for the supreme purpose. ‘It is not the ideal, but it is the only realistic and immediately applicable solution. Otherwise the majority would submit to the minority. And instead of taking an important step out of the rut, we would take two steps in the name of a leap that would never happen.’ These were my words in Parliament. And they are still valid today.
However, there were statements against the restrictions – and in fact by the SYRIZA MP responsible for Hellenes Abroad. Hoping, therefore, that the national initiative could be completed, the government submitted a new law for the completely free voting of our compatriots abroad, who are registered in the electoral lists. With the expectation that it would also be voted on by 2/3 of the deputies, so that it is valid immediately.
Alas, though. SYRIZA lied again, insulting all Greeks and first of all those who live far from home: Those who toiled and advanced by thinking about it. The scientists and businessmen who honor Greece abroad. Those who left in the years of crisis. But also our students who study in order to return. All those, that is, who belong to the homeland. That's why they have the right to have a say in it.
Withdrawing from what it said, the official opposition voted, today, to lift the restrictions. The one that the Greeks living abroad demanded from the beginning and persistently. Thus, the sad exception to the national mobilization was made again, which was suggested by the government, but was shared by both KINAL and the Greek Solution. In other words, it proved that it could not overcome its miserable micro-calculations. That it cannot stand consensus and unifying agreements. And that it is the only faction in the place that turns the ideal times into lost opportunities.
I'm not surprised, but I'm sorry for the development. Hellenism remains universal precisely because it maintains its unbreakable ties with the national hearth. And the participation of Hellenism in the public life of the country is a valuable component of its very development. It is therefore wrong, with the sole responsibility belonging to a political power, to sacrifice the enormous contribution of the Greek community worldwide in the name of internal partisan pathogenesis. In particular, at a critical juncture for national issues, but also for the overall reorganization of our country.
Let it be. We leave the regression behind, looking ahead. As Greece enters the recovery trajectory dynamically, it needs all its children by its side. And it must honor them without discrimination and artificial obstacles. That is why, now, the struggle is focused on the full implementation of the existing law, exhausting the many possibilities it offers. The government will do everything to exploit and expand them. However, it also demands the appropriate mobilization of our compatriots abroad. So that the daring road that was opened and some people wanted to undermine, will be turned, finally, into a great national boulevard."