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Expat voting bill passes into law

Featured Expat voting bill passes into law

A landmark bill lifting most restrictions on Greek citizens’ right to vote from abroad was approved by an enhanced majority of deputies in Parliament on Tuesday, with 208 MPs out of 300 approving the legislation.

The specific draft law needed approval by 200 deputies in the 300-MP legislature, with the final tally being 208 in favor and 68 against. Twenty-four deputies merely voted "present".

Deputies from ruling New Democracy (ND) party were joined by those from the lesser opposition PASOK, Niki and the Plefsi Eleftherias parties in voting in favor.

Main opposition SYRIZA and the Communist Party (KKE), both on the left and far-left political spectrum, voted against.

Deputies of the newly formed and ultra-nationalist Spartiates (Spartans) party and those of the Elliniki Lysi (Hellenic Solution) party, which is also right-of-center, voted against - a minor surprise when compared to their founding political positions.

The legislation allows Greek nationals, who are still registered in election rolls in the country, to vote from their place of residence abroad. Additionally, Greek citizens temporarily overseas will also be able to vote remotely.

Previous restrictions, such as living two years in the country over the past 35 years and filing tax returns, prevented many Greek citizens outside the country from voting, with "red tape" also keeping potential voters away.

Most European countries allow their citizens to vote from abroad, in one way or another.

Ethnic Greek organizations from around the world have long requested the right to vote from abroad.