Tensions rose about Greek citizens’ voting rights in Britain

Greece’s main opposition party, New Democracy entered into a war of words with the government on Friday about the voting rights of diaspora Greeks, with special reference to United Kingdom residents. The dispute erupted when New Democracy invoked the presence of an official document made by the Greek Embassy in London which delineated the post-Brexit voting procedure for 70.000 Greek residents in the United Kingdom.

According to the embassy document, there would be no voting stations in United Kingdom for the May 2019 European elections. Greek residents in Britain who seek to exercise their voting rights have to notify the embassy or consular authorities about the E.U. member-state of their choice wherein they would transfer their voting rights by 21 March.

The opposition party condemned the government of preventing members of the Greek diaspora in Britain from exercising their voting rights in the upcoming European elections. The official New Democracy announcement concluded that the Greek government precludes their citizens’ electoral rights out of fear about the possible outcome. As a response to these allegations, the Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministries issued two concurrent statements arguing that the government currently identifies potential solutions to accommodate the voting rights of Greek nationals in Britain.

For his part, the candidate of European People’s Party (EPP) for the position of European Commission’s presidency, Manfred Weber, joined the dispute in support of the New Democracy side. The EPP candidate uploaded a comment on his social media accounts, claiming that no other country within the European Union’s premises has precluded the voting rights of 70.000 citizens, using Brexit as an excuse.

Greek Foreign Minister, Giorgos Katrougalos issued a response to the Bavarian politician  claiming that ‘it is worrisome the EPP candidate reproduces New Democracy’s fake news, without checking first their validity, and official refutation issued by Ministers of Internal and Foreign Affairs earlier in the day’.

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