George Zairis highlights the importance of respecting the right to vote and promoting participation in democratic processes.
With less than one week until the Greek national elections, less than one month until the Luxembourg municipal elections and less than five months before the Luxembourg national elections take place, as a Greek citizen living in Luxembourg for the past five years, I can say with some certainty that anticipation and responsibility are the two main emotions which I am currently experiencing.
What is the difference in this Greek election, however, for those almost 6,000 Greeks who call Luxembourg ‘home’?
For the first time in Greece’s history, the government gave ‘Greek expats’ the opportunity to vote from whichever country they reside instead of flying back home to vote. For something that is so important and indisputably increases voter participation rates in elections, the lead opposition party voted against this measure. This has led to a more restrictions and obstacles in the registration process and made it impossible to vote for many Greeks all around the world.
During a period in which our democracy is at stake and participation rates are very low especially among the younger generations, the question which arises is just a resounding ‘’why?’. On the other hand, the Luxembourgish state is granting voting rights in the municipal elections to all expats who have lived for at least 6 months in their commune.
As an expat who has the privilege of calling and feeling at home in Luxembourg, actions like this show tangible respect for all those people who work and live in this country and additionally promote and embrace the core pillars of democracy - which is what exactly why each one of us should go and vote and be part of this big celebration which we call elections.
Greeks want to vote and show their confidence in a government which will continue promoting reforms, political stability, and economic development as after more than a decade of bailouts and painful austerity measures, the country has rebounded and managed to come out the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the strongest recovering economies, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanding 8.4 per cent in 2021 and 5.9 per cent last year.
To conclude, in case you see a big queue outside the Greek embassy this weekend, do not wonder what is happening because the answer will be very easy. It is all those Greek citizens who are living in Luxembourg and genuinely care about the future of their country.
George Zairis is an Assistant Manager at Grant Thornton Luxembourg specializing in providing advisory services to European Institutions. He is also the President of the Youth Organisation of New Democracy (ONNED) here in Luxembourg.