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Diaspora Greeks show little interest for elections, force gov’t to change law

Lack of interest on the part of diaspora Greeks to participate in the upcoming elections is forcing the Mitsotakis government to changes in the electoral law regardign the election of expatriates on the so-called “state ballots.”

However, for this the government will need an agreement with the political parties of the opposition.

Despite the government efforts to win expatriates for the elections, there is only a small number of voters registered to date in the electoral rolls.

Despite the prime minister’s contacts with the diaspora community abroad and the government’s communication campaign, only 3,500 expatriates have so far been registered in the special lists in order to vote in their place of residence, news website newsit.gr reports on Wednesday.

According to Interior Minister Makis Voridis to ANT1 TV, out of the 3,500 submitted applications, only 2,600-2,700 of them have been approved.

Despite the fact that a news campaign is planned to inform expatriates abroad, the number is not expected to increase significantly.

In this context, the possibility that only 3,500 to 4,000 expatriates will vote and that 3 Greek residents abroad will be elected on the “state ballot”, is a cause of concern for the government, which recognizes… a failure in terms of the result of the relevant legislative initiative and processes a decrease in the representation of diaspora Greeks.

“There is an issue with the equality of the vote,” a competent source told newsit.gr, noting that it is unfair that some people are elected to the state ballot with more or less 1,000 votes each.

Note that on the state ballot candidates are elected by list and not by cross as in every other ballot.

The government proposal on the table is to have a minimum number of people registered in the electoral rolls abroad in order to elect one representative from the diaspora.

Will the opposition consent, despite the fact that the change, as some estimate, would “convenience” the political forces?

The first “NO” came from PASOK-KINAL, with the argument that ND “instead of bringing improvement, wants to cancel the first mistake by committing another one”.

The attitude if main opposition SYRIZA is crucial, however, the left-wing party is waiting for the final governmental proposal.

It is noted that if and as long as the amendment provides for a large number of votes as a limit for the election of an expatriate on the state ballot, e.g. five-digit or even six-digit, then it is possible that the presence of a representative from  diaspora will become prohibited,

In other words, this may lead to the removal of not one but even the 3 seats provided for by the law today and return them to Athens A’, to Achaia and the Southern Sector of Athens from where they had been “removed”.

Government sources blame SYRIZA and KKE for insisting on strict conditions for diaspora Greeks’ voting right when the law was underway in 2019. They add that the two parties left the Parliament Plenary when Minister Voridis attempted to improve the relevant provisions with a law in 2021.

Parliamentary elections in the country are expected sometime in spring 2023, with the latest scenario to claim the date maybe a week before Easter which falls on April 16.

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