Greek Interior Minister offers exclusive insights to The Greek Herald on postal vote reform

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By Ilias Karagiannis

In a groundbreaking development, Greece has ushered in a new era of democratic participation with the introduction of postal voting for European elections and referendums.

In an exclusive statement, the Minister for the Interior of the Hellenic Republic, Niki Kerameus told The Greek Herald the referendums is an “important democratic change that will facilitate the right of Greek Australians to exercise their right to vote.”

Ms Kerameus expressed her enthusiasm for the transformative impact of postal voting that sets out to eliminate practical obstacles to voting for Greeks living both within and beyond the borders of Greece.

The reform, approved on Wednesday January 24, is set to take effect in the upcoming European elections on June 9. Ms Kerameus acknowledged the challenges faced in gaining unanimous support, with opposition parties opting against the amendment to extend postal voting to Greek national elections.

Despite this, Ms Kerameus championed the reform as a significant enhancement of democracy, removing barriers and modernising the electoral process. She noted that the adoption of postal voting aligns with the principles of a modern society, promoting equal participation in the electoral process.

The Minister for Interior, who recently participated in an informative Greek-Australian Digital Conversation Series, recalled the steps taken last summer in removing legal restrictions on the voting rights of Greek citizens living in Australia. She emphasised the practical implications, citing instances where overseas voters previously had to undertake significant expenses and travel arrangements to cast their votes.

Under the new system, any Greek citizen registered in the electoral rolls, regardless of their location on the day of the European elections, will now have the opportunity to vote through the convenience of postal voting. Ms Kerameus underscored the simplicity and security of the procedure, incorporating strict measures based on international best practices.

In her statement, the Minister outlined the government’s commitment to fostering citizen participation, continually working to facilitate the exercise of the fundamental right to vote.

See Minister Niki Kerameus’s full statement to The Greek Herald below:

“For the first time in its history, Greece acquired the institution of postal voting.

This is, without a doubt, an important democratic change, which removes the practical obstacles to the exercise of the right to vote both for Greek citizens of the Diaspora and for our fellow citizens living in Greece.

Now, all Greeks who have the right to vote, regardless of their place of residence, can vote in the European elections and referendums. Without having to move. Without having to spend money.

Through a simple and safe procedure, for which strict security measures have been provided on the basis of good practices adopted by other countries that have been applying the postal voting system for a number of years, we make it significantly easier for Greeks everywhere to exercise the extremely important right to vote.

We are taking a large and essential step to strengthen participation in the electoral process.

Our State is modernising, keeping up with more modern institutional procedures, adopting good public administration practices and making use of international experience, adapting it to the conditions of our country.

In the summer we took an important step by removing all legal restrictions on the exercise of the electoral right of Greek citizens from abroad. But practical limitations remained. Until yesterday (Wednesday January 24) an overseas voter might have had to take a plane and pay $1,000 to go and vote.

This will no longer be necessary with regard to the European elections. Now, any Greek citizen, registered in the electoral rolls, regardless of where he will be on the day of the European elections, will be able to vote using the postal vote.

An extensive dialogue with parties and institutions was held in the last months, which contributed decisively to a better formulation of the bill.

The establishment of postal voting meets the requirements of a modern society and creates real equality of conditions for participation in the electoral process. Above all, the introduction of postal voting broadens and deepens Democracy.

We will not stop trying to constantly facilitate citizens very important right, the right to vote”.

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