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Greek Election: 22,816 Members of the Diaspora to Vote in 35 Countries

The Greek diaspora will vote for the general election on May 20, one day before polling stations open in Greece.

These will be the first elections in which Greeks living abroad can exercise their right to vote from their place of residence, provided they meet the criteria in the relevant legislation.

Until now, Greece was the only country in Europe—and perhaps the entire Western world— where full citizens living abroad were denied the right to vote in Greek elections from the country of their residence, either by casting a ballot at the Greek embassy or through postal voting.

The 22,816 expatriates whose applications to vote abroad were approved will vote in 99 polling stations in 35 countries.

These include:

Egypt (Cairo),
Australia (Melbourne and Sydney),
Austria (Vienna, Salzburg),
Belgium (Brussels, Antwerp),
Bulgaria (Sofia),
France (Paris, Strasbourg, Nice, Nantes),
Germany (Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Dresden, Hanover, Nuremberg, Aachen, Wuppertal, Cologne, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Ludwigshafen),
Denmark (Copenhagen),
Switzerland (Berne, Geneva, Lausanne),
United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi),
United Kingdom (London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh),
United States (San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Chicago, Tampa),
Ireland (Dublin),
Spain (Madrid, Barcelona),
Italy (Rome, Milan, Venice),
Canada (Montreal, Toronto),
Qatar (Doha),
S. Korea (Seoul),
Cyprus (Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos),
Lithuania (Vilnius, Kaunas),
Luxembourg, Malta (Valetta),
Norway (Oslo),
South Africa (Johannesburg),
Netherlands (Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven),
Poland (Warsaw),
Portugal (Lisbon),
Romania (Bucharest),
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh),
Sweden (Stockholm, Göteborg, Malme),
Turkey (Istanbul),
Czech Republic (Prague), and
Finland (Helsinki).

Roughly 96 percent of the voters abroad will be able to vote in their country of residence while the remaining 4 percent will need to travel to a nearby country as the number of 50 voters needed for a polling station was unmet.

Special rules apply to members of the armed forces, police, fire brigade, and coast guard, enabling them to vote in the areas where they are stationed, and to sailors who happen to be in Greek ports on the day of the elections.

Conditions for Greek diaspora vote in election discouraging

The Greek diaspora will be mostly absent from the parliamentary elections, as only 22,816 out of millions of Greeks residing all over the world will vote.

This is a fiasco for the political parties in Greece, who turned their backs on the diaspora with a new law discouraging Greeks abroad from registering by putting bureaucratic obstacles in their way.

Greek officials had estimated that some 300,000 citizens living outside the country wanted to have a say in the next election.

The new law approved in 2021 allows the diaspora to vote without having to fly back home.

However, the conditions attached for someone to vote from the Greek embassy or consulate of his/her residence were discouraging for much of the diaspora.

Two main requirements were accepted and imposed by the opposition in 2021. Those eligible to vote must have had a two-year stay in Greece in the last thirty-five years, which is difficult if not impossible to prove, and those over thirty must be tax-registered in Greece.

The bureaucratic conditions imposed and the cumbersome process of finding and certifying the documents required have been discouraging for most of the diaspora.

Source: greekreporter