Greek parties have promised Greeks living abroad to alter the country’s voting system, so that they may be able to participate in the Greek presidential elections from every country of the world. In a bid to show they are close to their promises, despite having done nothing helpful for the Hellenic Diaspora during the past years, PASOK and New Democracy parties have included two Greek Americans in their candidates.
Sotirios Vahaviolos, a New Jersey-based businessman and CEO of the Mistras Group which makes diagnostic equipment for businesses such as oil refineries, is running with New Democracy for the June 17th repeat election.
He is ninth on the New Democracy ballot and will fly all over to Greece to his birthplace just outside Sparta to vote for the election, spending almost $2,000 for his flight ticket.
Another Greek-American, a much younger New York-based architect, will also run for the Greek election with PASOK party, “representing the new generation.” Artemis Papadatou has no political experience but is the eighth name on the ballot for the Greek socialists.
Both participants agree that this vote is the most important of the past 30 or more years. Many consider this a referendum on the Memorandum which has worsened Greece’s financial status.
In the past years, the above-mentioned parties had enough money to pay for flights for Greeks abroad, so that their supporters could come to Greece and vote for them. But their financial situation has taken a turn for the worst, as only a few will spend money to flying to their homeland on June 17th.