One of the longest-standing unresolved political issues, the right of Greeks abroad to participate in elections, has gained new relevance recently, during a parliamentary debate in Greece, regarding legislation to change electoral divisions – and particularly to break the country’s largest electorate, that of the outer suburbs of Athens, into three divisions. The opposition proposed an amendment to the legislation (which also regulates municipal elections, linking them to the ones about the European Parliament), suggesting that every Greek citizen, registered in the electorate catalogues, should be able to vote at Greek embassy or consulate offices of their place of residency (the same right should be reserved for sailors, at the place where their ship is docked on election day).
Articles about voting issues in the Hellenic Republic.
Greek lawmakers have voted down a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The vote was called over a deal to end a long-running name dispute with the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The left-led coalition government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday survived a no-confidence vote brought by the conservative opposition New Democracy party after the government reached a landmark agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over its name.The parliament voted 153-127 against the motion. The deal, struck on Tuesday, would allow Macedonia to rename itself North Macedonia. It has angered Greek nationalists, who insist that any retention of the name “Macedonia” by the neighboring country implies claims to Greece’s province of the same name and usurps ancient Greek heritage and history.
Leader of the Opposition, Kiriakos Mitsotakis, jumped aboard the ‘diaspora voting rights’ train on Monday, when he presented a draft bill on behalf of his party Nea Dimokratia which proposes how Greeks abroad could vote in the country’s elections. It is the second attempt of the opposition to start this conversation, as the same draft legislation has been dragging in parliament for 18 months without being brought up for vote.
The Greek parliament last month (21 July) approved by a simple majority government’s proposed changes to the electoral system, with 179 votes in favor, 86 against, and 16 lawmakers abstaining. Among other provisions, Greek lawmakers decided to lower the voting age, allowing 17-year-olds to vote in the next general elections. According to the new electoral law, about 130,000 17-year-olds are expected to participate in the next national election. For the Syriza-led government, this move will enforce youth participation. But the opposition parties do not share such a view and believe that Greek premier Alexis Tsipras is trying to “cheat” young people. But the coalition government rejected the opposition’s proposal to grant voting rights for Greeks living abroad.
Alexis Tsipras will be sworn in as Greece’s prime minister later on Monday and his new government formally announced on Tuesday, Greek media said, after the leftist Syriza leader romped to an unexpectedly convincing election victory. The result on Sunday was a personal triumph for the 41-year-old, who gambled on the snap poll last month to see off a revolt by party radicals over his U-turn on accepting more tough austerity measures in exchange for Greece’s third international bailout. The premier-elect will now make renegotiating the terms of Greece’s debt mountain a top priority. He will attempt to build a broad consensus among the parties he defeated so as to strengthen his hand in talks with the country’s eurozone creditors, a senior Syriza source told Reuters. “We will continue negotiations in the coming period, with the debt issue being the first and most important battle,” the source said. “We will ask all political forces to support our efforts.”
Former prime minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday brushed off election polls suggesting his leftist Syriza party might lose to its conservative rival in Greece’s election, saying he had a large group of supporters not reflected by pollsters. He was speaking on the last day of formal campaigning for Sunday’s general election with polls showing a cliffhanger vote expected and some pointing to a win by the conservative New Democracy party. Neither party, however, is expected to get the proportion of the vote needed – roughly 38 percent – to gain a majority in the 300-seat parliament, meaning a coalition is a near certainty. “There is a voting body that is below the radar, it is not being traced,” Tsipras, who was to stage a final rally later in the day, told Greece’s ANT 1 television.
Vassiliki Thanou, Greece’s top supreme court judge, was sworn in Thursday as a caretaker head of the government, becoming the country’s first female prime minister. Yesterday, the country’s far-left leader also formally gave up a bid to form a coalition government, thereby allowing the President to finally set a date for early elections, after a week of political wrangling. Greece’s prime minister on Wednesday raised the political stakes forward of subsequent month’s early nationwide election, saying he won’t enter a coalition with the primary center-right and centrist opposition events even when he wants their backing to control. She will hold the position until a new government emerges from the vote expected on September 20.
Called to the ballot box for the third time in eight months, some Greeks are responding to election fatigue with a bailout-sized dose of Internet humour. In one hit post on the news site Protagon, comedienne Lila Stabouloglou suggested “electoral tourism” could prove a handy money-spinner for Greece’s cash-strapped authorities in the run-up to the vote in three weeks’ time. “The Greek Tourism Organisation is enthusiastically preparing to promote the idea of electoral tourism ahead of the vote on September 20,” she wrote in the mock news report. Her post was topped with a fake campaign poster, showing a ballot box floating alongside two boats in beautiful turquoise waters. “Live Your Elections in Greece”, it said — a riff on a well-known old tourism campaign, “Live Your Myth in Greece”.
Seven months after he was elected on a promise to overturn austerity, the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has announced he is stepping down to pave the way for snap elections next month. As the debt-crippled country received the first tranche of a punishing new €86bn (£61bn) bailout, Tsipras said on Thursday he felt “a moral obligation to place this deal in front of the people, to allow them to judge … both what I have achieved, and my mistakes”. The 41-year-old Greek leader is still popular with voters for having at least tried to stand up to the country’s creditors and his leftwing Syriza party is likely to be returned to power in the imminent general election, which government officials told Greek media was most likely to take place on 20 September. The prime minister insisted in an address on public television that he was proud of his time in office and had got “a good deal for the country”, despite bringing it “close to the edge”. He added he was “shortly going to submit my resignation, and the resignation of my government, to the president”. The prime minister will be replaced for the duration of the short campaign by the president of Greece’s supreme court, Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou – a vocal bailout opponent – as head of a caretaker government.
Early elections in Greece are “imperative” to maintain the country’s political stability as it begins to implement an unpopular third debt bailout, a minister said Monday. “Elections are imperative for purposes of political stability. Given the problems in the government’s (parliamentary) majority, the situation can be called anything but stable,” Energy Minister Panos Skourletis told Skai TV. A third of MPs from the ruling radical left party Syriza last week rebelled against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a vote on the three-year, 86-billion-euro ($96-billion) package, forcing him to rely on opposition parties to ratify it. “Such a major numeric loss of parliamentary majority is unprecedented,” said Skourletis, a former spokesman for Tsipras.