Greek Parliament approves historic diaspora voting rights

Greek Parliament

Greek Parliament

Greek Parliament on Wednesday approved the proposed New Democracy bill to allow diaspora Greeks to exercise their voting rights from their place of residence.

The bill was approved with a broad majority with 288 voting n favour, seven against and one who voted "present."

Earlier during a a plenary discussion, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared that it "could be described as literally historic, because it responds to both a long-standing demand and a current call," and represented a reform supported by over two-thirds of the MPs.

The Greek PM noted that Article 8 of the constitution allowing Greeks abroad to exercise their voting rights from their place of residence "took 44 years and 8 months to become legislation and looks like it will pass with great support across parties."

"I am proud that this is happening on New Democracy's (ND) initiative and with great inter-party consensus. I am sure it could have been achieved earlier if the previous parliamentary majority had chosen to pass a bill on it," he said, noting that ND had tabled a legislative proposal twice but they were never discussed.

"This peculiar hurdle in how Greeks abroad keep contact with their homeland has been an institutional stigma," and this, he added, was happening "in a country which established universal suffrage since 1864 and adheres to the principle of declared confidence in parliament since 1875."

"We are not speaking about an additional right" to Greeks abroad, he clarified, "but to facilitate those registered on voter rolls; this, at the end, was the only realistic and applicable solution," he said of the bill, "otherwise we would not have taken a significant step forward, but retreated two steps back."