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«We fought abroad for the right of speech and vote…»
Athens04.01.2010

The answer to all the reactions on the issue of bestowing immigrants who reside in Greece the right to vote, is given by more than 300 Hellenes abroad who are not only able to vote in the European countries that they reside, but they have also served as town, prefectural and regional councilors.

“It is a course which should have been taken by Greece, a long time ago” states Mr. Giorgos Kontorinis, town councilor of Solna Sweden and President of the European Network of Elected Greeks in Local Authorities Abroad.

MP Nikos Papadopoulos, remembers the time, when as President of Greek Students in Sweden, he met Olof Palme who was serving as Minister of Education at the time. “I was asking him to give us the right to vote, at least on a regional level. However he told us that it would be best to first secure our citizen rights, which would pave the way for the rest.”

Olof Palme clearly stated that if they acted differently no politician would pay attention to them. Furthermore he stated that “33 years after, no person in Sweden believes that bestowing immigrants the right of citizenship and the right to vote and be voted, was the wrong thing to do”

Mr. Grigoris Zarkadas, Town Councillor of Frankfurt, commented by stating that Greeks should refrain from racism and such phenomena and continued by stressing out that “Social integration cannot be fulfilled without the right to vote in town elections, there is no democracy if people who pay taxes do not take part in the decision making processes”.

He also praised the Government for its measure, not only for the children who were born in Greece but also for the legal immigrants. Nevertheless, as he noted for Germany “things may not be easy, but they are organized, there is a small number of immigrants who are not registered”.

On the same wavelength on positive reactions of government measures, were the statements made by Mr. Kostas Dimitriou, former town councilor of Koln and President of the Federation of Greek Communities in Germany, who suggested that “we should handle the matter carefully so that it will not evolve into a battle between the two leading parties for the number of immigrants they will attract”.

Source: Ta Nea

Caption: Board of Directors of the European Network of Elected Greeks in Local Authorities Abroad

 
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