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Voting went smoothly at the Consulate General of Greece in New York on May 20. (Photo: TNH/ Christodoulos Athanasatos)
NEW YORK – The Consular Authorities of Greece in the United States are satisfied with the smooth conduct of the election process on May 20, which also marked the historic first time Greeks living abroad could vote from their place of residence.
As The National Herald previously reported, 359 of the 506 registered voters residing in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut voted at the Consulate General of Greece in New York. Consul General in New York Dinos Constantinou spoke with TNH and once again expressed his satisfaction with the process, as well as the participation, for which he expressed the opinion that – given the conditions – is satisfactory.
“May 20 was a historic day for Hellenism in the Diaspora, it will be remembered in the future as the beginning of the possibility for Greeks abroad to vote from their place of residence,” Consul General Konstantinou said. “The voting went very smoothly, all the members of the Electoral Commission – whom I personally thank for their willingness and efficient work – were on the ramparts there to serve all the voters registered in the electoral rolls, the turnout was quite good and high – we were at 71% despite the severe weather conditions prevailing in New York on Saturday. The majority are young people who came to the U.S. before the age of 40, a phenomenon that was also observed in Europe and Australia. It was a successful process and we look forward to the next one to go just as well.”
Consul General of Greece in Chicago Emmanuel Koubarakis also spoke with TNH and noted that the process in Chicago was also carried out smoothly.
“It was a historic day for the Hellenic diaspora, which for the first time went to the ballot box in its place of residence,” Koubarakis said. “The election process in Chicago’s 1st district, which was held at the Consulate General, was conducted smoothly. With great pleasure, we welcomed voters, not only from the state of Illinois, but also from neighboring states, to exercise their right to vote from 7 AM until 7 PM. We note with particular satisfaction that the turnout, especially of young people studying at the higher educational institutions of the region, was significant.”
At the same time, the Ministry of the Interior has not yet given data regarding the number of those registered after April 10, who will be added to the existing list and will expand the number of eligible voters for the second round of elections. In this case, states like New York – which already had 506 registrants – would have a chance to pass 600, which would require the establishment of a second electoral division, in addition to the Consulate General.
“We have no indication at the moment, but it’s very possible because we have many who signed up after April 10. Of course, there may be some who voted on Saturday but will be in Greece by then. We will know very soon and, if necessary, we will create a second electoral division if that is required,” said Konstantinou.
At press time, the Ministry of the Interior had not tabulated all the results of the vote from the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Of the known results – which correspond to 60.61% of the combined Greeks living abroad vote – New Democracy collected 44.22%, SYRIZA 18.47%, KKE 10.56%, PASOK 6.66%, and other 9.85%.
It should be noted that 1,680 voters were registered in the United States to exercise their right to vote at the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC, and the Consulates General in New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Greeks Living Abroad Share Their Thoughts on the Elections
Greeks living abroad watched with particular interest the election on May 21, which, although it did not produce – as expected – an independent government, nevertheless projects a new four-year term for the outgoing government of the New Democracy party and Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Greeks abroad expressed their surprise at the size of the gap between New Democracy and SYRIZA.
“It was an unexpected end result. I didn’t have many expectations and predictions, but any idea of prediction I had, I’m sure it wouldn’t contain a strengthened New Democracy, so that was the biggest surprise. It seems that the people, especially on the Left, chose to express their real beliefs and not the so-called ‘strategic’ vote, hence the increased percentages for PASOK. Surprising results, but of little consequence as this Parliament will be dissolved. More important is the reaction of the voters to the results, that is, how they will influence their choices in the next election,” said Vasilis Michalis, a student at Fordham University.
GAEPIS Foundation President Stelios Taketzis interprets the result as a declaration of renewed confidence in the Mitsotakis government and expressed his satisfaction with the climate in which the elections were held, stating that the polarization produced by social media was not felt.
“It seems that our compatriots in Greece wanted the current government to continue the work that began in 2019. The most positive thing is that despite all the polarization that we saw mainly on social media, the elections took place in a [moderate] environment, and the political leaders managed both the victory for those who won and the defeat for those who were defeated with dignity…” Taketzis noted.
International Relations student at the University of Delaware Eva Kourlesi declared herself satisfied with the result and the expected new term for the Mitsotakis government.
“I would say that the election result was at least satisfactory as, in my opinion, it responded to the needs of the citizens and the current circumstances. I would like to congratulate Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and I believe that the people have spoken. Clearly, we await the second round of elections with great impatience,” Kourlesi said.
On the other side, radio producer Anastasia Thanasoula noted that she did not expect the Mitsotakis government to receive a broad vote of approval and spoke about the issue of abstention, while also expressing doubts about the strategy of SYRIZA in the past four years.
“The election result seemed to many at first glance incomprehensible and unjustified because the New Democracy government in the past four years made too many mistakes that should not have been overlooked, and people who should not even be in Parliament should not have received a vote of confidence. We have to emphasize the huge abstention rates and if we do the math we see that the election results were shaped by a very small group of people. But in addition, I believe that the years of SYRIZA rule, during which there was serious instability in the country, have caused the Greek people to have serious doubts about their ability to lead at the helm of the country,” said Thanasoula.
For his part, businessman Panos Papadopoulos-Seretis estimated that the June 25 elections will be of interest mainly for the opposition and less for the government.
“The people supported the parties with a clear and concrete [movement] away from toxicity and populism. As we all know by now, the next election will give New Democracy autonomy and I believe that it is imperative for the good of the nation to have a serious and worthy official opposition that will support the government in the right way and [guard] against arrogance and cliques, said Papadopoulos-Seretis.
How the Greeks Living Abroad Voted in Europe and Asia
The results of the vote for Greeks living abroad tallied a greater difference between ND and SYRIZA, higher percentages for KKE and MeRa25, and lower levels of support for PASOK and Hellenic Solution compared to the votingt in Greece itself, according to the tabulated 60.61% of the electoral divisions from countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Singapore.
With 60 of the 99 electoral divisions counted, ND received a percentage of 44.22%, SYRIZA 18.47%, in third place KKE with 10.56%, followed by MeRA25 with 10.25%, PASOK with 6 .66%, National Creation with 2.74%, Freedom Sailing with 2.26%, while the party of Kyriakos Velopoulos is in 10th place with 1%, behind Niki (1.60%) and ANTARSYA (1.13%).
ND achieved percentages of more than 70% in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, and 61.39% in Qatar, while it won first place in all European countries where electoral divisions were set up except for Sweden, Spain, and Portugal, where SYRIZA prevailed.
Another 4,000 Greek Living Abroad Can Vote in the June 25 Elections
The number of Greeks living abroad eligible to vote from their place of residence in the June 25 elections will increase by 4,000 for those who applied for registration between April 11 and May 17 and did not register in time to participate in the May 21 elections. 18,203 out of a total of 22,857 Greek living abroad who were registered in the special lists voted.
The electoral legislation provides that expatriates meeting certain criteria who submit a relevant application (on the special digital platform apodimoi.gov.gr) 12 days before the announcement of the elections have the right to vote from their place of residence abroad.
The previous elections were announced on April 23 and, therefore, those who had applied by April 11 participated, while the upcoming elections are expected to be announced on Monday, May 29, and therefore those who applied by May 17 will gain the right to participate.
At this stage, however, the total number of those who have the right to vote in the new electoral process is not clear, as the possibility of deleting or suspending the registration in the lists for those who intend to come to Greece to exercise their right to vote is still active. It is noted that for those registered in the special electoral list of Greeks abroad, in accordance with the instructions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the following rules apply:
The voter can at any time and up to three (3) days before the announcement of the elections, suspend his registration in the special foreign electoral rolls.
He must enter the apodimoi.gov.gr website and submit a voter registration suspension request. He can reactivate his registration, through the apodimoi.gov.gr application, by submitting a request to lift the suspension of voter registration.
The voter can at any time and up to three (3) days before the announcement of the elections, cancel his registration in the special foreign electoral rolls.
He should enter the apodimoi.gov.gr site, submit a request to cancel his voter registration and is permanently deleted from the special foreign electoral rolls.
Suspensions or deletions of applications that take place less than three (3) days before the announcement of the elections remain registered in the special electoral lists abroad after the elections have been held.
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