Bill lifting restrictions for Greeks voting from abroad is posted for public consultation

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A bill that will lift restrictions for Greek citizens voting in elections abroad was posted for public consultation by the Interior Ministry on Monday.

The bill is formally named “Revoking restrictions for the registration in special voter registration lists of voters living abroad” and is addressed to both Greek nationals living permanently abroad as well as to Greeks who happen to be abroad during election day.

Its purpose is to provide equal treatment to all Greek voters, particularly those living abroad or travelling abroad on the day of elections, in the framework of observing the principle of universal voting.

Some of the restrictions the bill abolishes include the length of stay in Greece (2 years during the last 35 years) before voting and to have filed taxes during the current year or the previous one from the year of elections. These restrictions prevented the majority of voters abroad from participating in elections. The Greek Constitution provides the option of introducing voting restrictions on voting from abroad, but does not mandate them (Article 54, Paragraph 4), leaving that right to Parliament’s discretion.

The bill will be available for public consultation until 08:00 on Monday, July 17.

Interior Minister Niki Kerameus said that the first important step granting Greek citizens abroad the right to vote was taken in 2019. “It is not a right, central, or leftist issue, this one; it is a matter of respecting Greeks anywhere abroad,” she said. “We are facilitating them in exercising their voting right. We call on deputies to support the bill by a wide majority. Diaspora Greeks are the soul and voice of Greece abroad. It is our duty to facilitate the exercise of their constitutionally established right to vote,” she added. [AMNA]

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