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Greeks citizens abroad demand participation in elections

12 September 2009 / 12:09:55  GRReporter
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A significant majority of Greeks living abroad would like to receive the right to vote in the country of their ancestors. This accounts for 82.4% of Greeks living in Canada and USA, 81% of those living in the European Union and 80% of Greeks living elsewhere in the world. At the same time they cannot hide their disappointment of their homeland which does not take good care of them and only remembers them in times it needs their help. 80.9% believe that Greek society relates to their compatriots only when their help is needed for a certain cause. 58.8% answered that Greece has forgotten about its citizens abroad and only 20.8% are convinced that the country's policy towards them is clear.

60.5% expect from the Greek state to ensure better education for their children, 44.6% want economic and legislative alleviations for investing in the country, 39.5% demand a voice during the parliamentary elections, 27.4% expect more information and more events regarding Greek culture and historical heritage, 22.4 expect more flexibility in the obligatory military service, 21.1% insist on an easier process for entering a Greek university, and 13.4% want a facilitated process for receiving Greek citizenship.

In regard to the image of Greeks around the world, the Greek Diaspora believes that it has improved and gained back its authority. Asked to what degree, 35.2% say "a lot", 24% say "quite", 30.8% say "a little" and only 8.3% say "not at all." 69.1% of the Greeks inquired relate the improved image of the country with its membership in the European Union. To the question where should Greece focus in order to improve its image even more,59.6% say it has to strengthen its positions in the European Union, 33.3%- that it needs to spend more time on its relationships with Turkey, 30.3% believe it needs to concentrate on the Cyprus issue, and only 16.1 suggest that the country focuses on the argument about Macedonia's name.

34.5% from the inquired claim that they would return to Greece, provided they are able to find an appropriate job. 31.4% say they would return if it is in best interest for their jobs and family, 18.4% claim that they would return post-retirement, and 10.5% are not planning to return to Greece at all.

The inquiry was conducted by Kappa Research agency and Harvard University under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Interior. 15 640 people were inquired, 10 846 of whom belong to the Greek Diaspora around the world, 1270 from Cyprus, 3506 from Greece. The research was conducted in 2007 through telephone or internet questionnaires.

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