A bill allowing Greek citizens the right to cast postal votes in European Parliament elections and national referendums was approved on Wednesday by a majority of deputies in Greece’s 300-deputy legislature. The first occasion arises with June’s Europarliament election.
Voting in favor were all 158 MPs of ruling New Democracy (ND) party, while six deputies of the small left-wing “Plefsi Eleftherias” (Course of Freedom) party – founded and headed by former Parliament president Zoe Konstantopoulou – voted “present”.
Another 135 deputies of the main opposition and lesser opposition parties, ranging from the Communist Party (KKE) to the ultra-right Spartiates (Spartans), voted against. One deputy from main opposition SYRIZA party was absent.
The new law allows Greek citizens outside the country and within to send mail-in votes.
The plenary vote came a day after relevant Interior Minister Niki Kerameus abruptly announced from Parliament’s podium that the government was including a draft amendment allowing citizens the right to cast a postal vote for national elections.
The opposition immediately voiced sharp opposition and a supposed consensus among some opposition parties to vote in favor of mail-in voting for European Parliament elections and referenda quickly dissipated. A change in the election law for national elections would have required an increased two-thirds approval, meaning 200 deputies voting in favor.