First of all, Greece made it to the next round on the Euro Cup. Who would have thought? Second of all, Greece had elections for the second time in one month. I am not going to comment to the results. In fact, I am not entitled to comment on the results since I did not vote. Not because I didn’t want to, but simply because I was not allowed to.
You see, the country that is considered the birthplace of democracy, does not allow its citizens living abroad to vote. The vast majority of European countries, including regimes that are characterized as authoritarian by the democracy index, such as Russia and Iran, allow their expatriate citizens to vote in elections, whether presidential, parliamentary or regional.
Greek citizens do not have this opportunity. They are denied their fundamental right as citizens of a democracy to elect their representatives in parliamentary elections. Watching the results last night, I was feeling frustrated knowing that this deprivation of my right to vote is interpreted as abstention from the electoral process in the final results of the elections. The 38% turnout is not a real percentage as it includes all these thousands of Greek citizens who despite being registered voters, could not vote because they live abroad.
So for a second time in one month, I found myself watching the events from a distance, being passive, hearing politicians of all parties talking about the “ultimate celebration of democracy”, completely ignoring all of us, who even though we were entitled to vote, we were not allowed to. The only choice an expatriate would have, was to fly back to Greece, because apparently our vote is worth as much as a return flight ticket to Athens.
I guess to most of you this comes as a surprise. It was a surprise to me as well, when I discovered it few days before the elections of the 6th of May. Up until then, I was naive enough to consider my right to elect my representatives from abroad as a given. But alas!
Let’s just hope that this will change soon, because it is unfair and antidemocratic. The majority of Greeks living abroad, have full Greek citizenship, are registered and therefore entitled to vote just like any other citizen. They are not detached from what is happening in the country; them, their families and friends are affected and they should have a saying, if Greece claims to be a democratic country.
Recently, a group of expatriate Greek citizens started an initiative to raise awareness on the matter. For more information, you can see this.
[Katerina Petropoulou (25) studies Business Communication and Digital Media at Tilburg University and blogs for Univers.]
Geplaatst door: katerina
Gepubliceerd op: 18-06-2012
Bijgewerkt op: 18-06-2012