The only thing that is not yet known is exactly when the elections will take place in Greece. However, it is certain that they are around the corner.
“We are entering the home stretch,” the Prime Minister said in a recent speech to New Democracy supporters in Brussels. And a few days earlier he had declared that “the weather has the smell of elections.”
The elections must take place by the Summer, but it is possible they will take place in the Spring. However, nothing can be ruled out. It could happen later or even earlier. There are many parameters that the Prime Minister has to take into account in order to decide.
However, whatever the date, the most likely scenario is that there will be two elections. This is because it is unlikely that an independent government will emerge in the first vote, due to the changes in the electoral system voted for by SYRIZA when they were in power, so they will have to be repeated soon afterwards.
It is considered almost certain that after the second election Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be able to form an independent government again – that is, to be able to govern without needing a coalition partner.
This does not mean that we expatriates should be complacent. It is shocking simply to think that the time has finally come and we now have the right to vote. For the first time since the establishment of the Greek state the laws give us the right to vote from the parts of the World where we live.
This is indeed a revolutionary development in relations between expatriates and the Greek state that previous generations of expatriates could not even dream of.
The benefits for us and for the Greeks of Greece are great and many.
One of them, which is not usually spoken – but it is a fact – is that with our vote we will acquire another status as expatriates, greater power, more possibilities, more power in the assertion of our rights with respect to the Greek state.
Our participation in the elections will even help to balance our relations with the Greeks of Greece. We will become more equal. And more respected – because sometimes we are not…
Also, those of us who have property in Greece, who have bureaucratic matters to take care of – from the issuance of a passport to the rebuilding of a house – have more vital reasons to have a voice in Greece. And nothing matters more in a democracy than the vote.
Let us also do our own self-criticism, however: we cannot simply talk about Greece’s issues. Now that we have a say and can influence developments in Greece and have something to say to the people who govern it, now that we have a right to impact their decisions, let us not miss this historic opportunity that we have been given.
But let us be better informed about the crucial issues facing Greece: the English and Greek prints editions and websites of The National Herald are valuable resources in that regard.
Now, I know, first-hand that the right to vote that we have been given is limited.
There are many obstacles created by SYRIZA when they left power but still had influence in the process when they became the official opposition.
SYRIZA made a historically thoughtless decision to limit our right to vote. They had that power because the Greek constitution dictates that a 200 supermajority was needed in the 300-member Parliament to change the voting laws. Therefore, in order for the New Democracy government to gain the support of 200 MPs, compromise was necessary. It was an ‘all or nothing’ situation, which is not conducive to finding solutions, but Kyriakos Mitsotakis reasoned – correctly – that the small step forward had to be taken.
I believe, however, that the time will come when our votes will give us enough influence in Parliament that we will be granted the same voting conditions that apply to the Greeks there.
However, the number of those who are currently entitled to vote outside Greece is far greater than the number of those who are currently registered. Why? Perhaps it is because of the lack of information we have about how to register. I believe the government will take steps to mitigate this. The point is, you can now register at apodimoi.gov.gr.
So we ought to mobilize. We should act today, before the registration deadline passes.
And because so much is at stake in this election, I say to those of us who cannot vote from where they live: let’s make the sacrifice – if we can – to go to Greece to vote.