A draft law detailing how Greeks living abroad may vote in national elections was defeated in Parliament by a narrow margin on Wednesday, after contentious debate from committee level to plenary.
Offiicially titled “Lifting of restrictions for the registration of voters abroad on special voting lists”, the bill required the support of 200 deputies out of the total 300. Of the 213 MPs present, the bill was supported by 190 deputies (ruling New Democracy, Movement for Change/KINAL and Greek Solution) and rejected by 23 (main opposition SYRIZA, Communist Party of Greece and MeRA25).
Earlier in the month, representatives of the Greek diaspora, who said they numbered 7.5 million, had told Interior Minister Makis Voridis they supported the opportunity to vote in national elections. Through their representatives at the Permanent Committee of Hellenism of the Diaspora, they had demanded that all Greeks abroad who were registered on voting lists be able to vote from their place of residence with the option of mail-in ballots, and requested that their ballot have equal standing to ballots in Greece.
PM Mitsotakis on overseas voting bill
The rejection of a draft bill allowing Greeks abroad to vote in national elections showed the “small-minded party interests of SYRIZA,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis charged in a Facebook post on Wednesday evening, saying the main opposition party “with its short-sighted party viewpoint undermined once again a national necessity.”
The rejected bill was not ideal but it was the only realistic and applicable solution, Mitsotakis said, reiterating statements he had made at the time. Hoping to make things work out, he said, the government tabled a new law that would raise all restrictions to the voting of Greeks abroad. “But reneging on its words, the main opposition today voted down the lifting of restrictions, a request made from the start and persistently by Greeks abroad,” the premier said, “thus becoming once again the sad exception in a national effort that may have been introduced by the government but was supported both by KINAL and by Greek Solution.”
Syriza, he said, “proved it is unable to rise above its miserly small-minded interests, that it cannot bear consensus and unifying agreements, and that it is the only party in Greece that transforms ideal conditions to lost opportunities.”