For the first time in Greece’s history, the Greek diaspora were able to participate in the national elections from their place of residence on Saturday.
The momentous occasion fulfilled a long-standing demand of Greeks living abroad, allowing them to participate in the electoral process without having to return to Greece.
According to Greece’s Interior Ministry, almost 23,000 diaspora from across the world registered to vote, with most coming from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, Belgium and Cyprus. In Australia, there were only around 162 registered Greeks.
The voting polls for the diaspora opened on Saturday, May 20 – one day prior to Greece’s national elections on May 21. The diaspora voting started first in the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Data released by Greece’s Interior Ministry suggested that out of a total of 22,857 registered diaspora voters, 18,203 voted and 4,654 abstained. Therefore, the participation rate was 79.6%.
Their ballots will now be sent back in sealed bags by planes and the votes will be sorted on arrival.
The results will be added to initial election results which show Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative New Democracy party winning a landslide election victory, but without enough parliamentary seats to form government.