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Politics

PASOK Blames New Democracy, SYRIZA for Diaspora Voter Apathy

ATHENS – Restrictions put on a long-promised law allowing Greeks abroad to vote in elections – the race for the Prime Minister’s race coming in 2023 – has seen massive disinterest and blame being cast.

Only some 3,500 people around the world who qualified bothered to register, and the PASOK-KINAL Movement for Change center-left re-surging merged party said it’s the fault of the major opposition SYRIZA and ruling New Democracy.

While in power, SYRIZA imposed strict conditions in an apparent bid to hold down the vote abroad in belief it would go mostly to New Democracy, but the Conservatives did little to change it.

Those eligible to vote must have had a two-year stay in Greece for the last 35 years and those over 30 must be tax-registered in Greece, measures so strict that relatively few could qualify and most of those who could stayed away.

Unlike other countries which let their residents abroad vote in elections – such as Americans living in Greece – Greeks overseas were left out in the cold for generations despite repeated promises to make it easier for them.

The limitations essentially “practically cancelled the large-scale electoral participation of Greeks residing abroad,” PASOK said, the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency ANA-MPA reported.

“Even expensive awareness campaigns failed to mobilize our fellow-Greeks who live abroad and have a right to participate,” PASOK said, noting the tepid response was far from the scores of thousands who fled Greece for other countries during an eight-year long economic crisis.

PASOK criticized New Democracy for “floating the idea through leaks that it will change the law once again, reducing the number of representatives for Greeks of the Diaspora in the next parliamentary cycle.””

New Democracy “wants to cancel the first mistake by committing another,” instead of improving it. “This points to a quiet admission of failure and to yet another anti-institutional choice by the ruling party that we will not agree to,” it underlined.

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