Draft law allowing expats' votes from abroad next month; passage requires 2/3 Parliament approval

Monday, 14 October 2019 14:13
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By G. Kampourakis

A closely watched vote in Parliament over an expected draft bill granting Greek citizens living abroad the right from their place of residence is expected in November, an initiative that was repeatedly promised by ruling New Democracy (ND) when it was in the opposition.

The relevant interior minister is expected to send a letter to all parties represented in Parliament so that the latter appoint representatives to a committee that will debate the draft legislation, when it is submitted.

The "magic number" for the government is a "yea" vote by 200 out of the 300 deputies in Greece's parliament, which means that the votes of Communist Party (KKE) MPs are necessary to pass any such legislation.

The Mitsotakis government wants to allow letter votes by registered voters living abroad, while opposition parties want stricter conditions - such as economic/tax activity in Greece, possibly a ceiling on the length of time spent permanently abroad etc. The opposition also wants ballot boxes set up in embassies and diplomatic missions, but letter votes. The only party categorically opposed to giving expatriate Greeks that are registered on election rolls in the country is radical leftist SYRIZA, which was in government up until early July 2019.

SYRIZA's counter-proposal is to allow Greek citizens the right to vote, but with their ballots not counting in the general vote tally, something the government has ruled out, as among others, unconstitutional.

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