The Greek government will introduce an amendment abolishing all voting restrictions on the Greek diaspora, Interior Minister, Makis Voridis, said on Monday.
The issue was raised after Theodora Tzakir, a SYRIZA MP responsible for diaspora affairs, said in an interview with The National Herald that Greeks living abroad were being subject to “unfair and devaluing limitations” with regards to their right to vote in Greece’s national elections. She said the leftist party would remove these restrictions if it returned to power.
In his comments, Voridis said the amendment would be tabled before Parliament on Monday.
Government spokesperson, Aristotelia Peloni, confirmed that with the amendment, “for the first time, Greek voters outside the country have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote from their place of residence.”
She added that “what is proposed is to abolish the precondition of staying in Greece for two years during the last 35 years and the obligation to file a tax return during the current or previous year.”
Recently-passed legislation gives all Greek citizens living abroad the right to vote in the next national election if they can prove that they have lived continuously in Greece for two years in the last 35 years. This can be validated by presenting a variety of documentary evidence, which among others includes the national service certificate, proof of social security contributions and degrees from Greek universities.
Kathimerini also recently reported that the government is preparing an online registry for Greeks living abroad in a bid to strengthen diaspora ties with the homeland, as well as enhance public diplomacy and nation branding.