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Greek PM Samaras Orders Immediate Repeal of Migrant Citizenship Law

 Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras gave orders to immediately scrap the migrant citizenship law and asked the Minister of Interior to work out a new draft that will comply with the Greek Constitution. The fast-track decision of PM comes a day after the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, casted doubt on its compatibility with the Constitution.

According to so-called Ragousis Law, preconditions for a migrant to obtain Greek citizenship are: 5 years of legal residence in Greece and no penal sentence for adults, 6 years of Greek school for minors. 

According to Skai TV, Minister of Interior should ready the new law within seven days.

The law passed by PASOK government in April 2010, granted citizenship and voting rights for municipality elections to second-generation of migrants living in Greece. The Court also found that one cannot have Greek citizenship without also having Greek nationality.

The Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, cast doubt on Tuesday on recent legislation that granted citizenship and voting rights to second-generation immigrants living in the country.

Known as the Ragousis law, after Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis, who drew it up, legislation passed through Parliament in early 2010 allowed those who had been born to immigrant parents that had been living in Greece legally for five years to obtain Greek citizenship as long as they had studied at a Greek school for at least six years. The legislation was opposed by New Democracy and its leader Antonis Samaras.

The Council of State questioned in a ruling on Tuesday whether these criteria were suitable for deciding a person’s citizenship and whether stronger ties with Greece should be required.

The court also deemed unconstitutional the part of the law that allows non-Greek citizens to vote and stand as candidates in local and regional elections. Judges said there had to be a constitutional review for this legislation to apply.

The Council of State ruled on the matter after a Greek citizen lodged a complaint about the Ragousis law in April 2010. The ruling will not automatically lead to the law being repealed as it could be appealed at the Supreme Court. (ekathimerini)

The new law will not be imposed retrospectively and will not affect those who received Greek citizenship under Ragousis Law or  have any effect on the municipality elections of November 2010. Skai TV writes also that migrants who had the preconditions for Greek citizenship but had only green card were allowed to vote during the municipality elections of 2010.

PS Would I be mean, if I ask why PASOK won so many municipalities in 2010, half a year after the country sought the IMF aid?




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  1. Regarding the ‘Ragousis Law’, leaving aside the issue of citizenship for ‘immigrants’ (Really I assume we are referring to non-eu immigrants in this case!?) I refer to the rights of EU citizens and their ‘right’ to vote in local and regional elections. My understanding is that this ‘right’ is enshrined in EU law. Is this a case of yet again Greece picking and choosing which parts of EU philosophy and legislation Greeks will abide by……..?