Court raps Greece for denying vote to expats

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The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ruled in favour of two Greeks living in France who were denied the right to vote in their country's parliamentary elections in 2007.

Nikolaos Sitaropoulos and Christos Giakoumopoulos, who work for the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, had faxed the Greek embassy in Paris asking to cast their ballots there.

But it replied that, due to the absence of polling stations in embassies and consulates, their request could not be met.

In its ruling, the court -- noting that 29 out of 33 European nations make it possible for expatriates to vote -- said Greece had breached article three of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees free elections.

"The lack of legislative implementation in respect of expatriates' voting rights was likely to constitute unfair treatment of Greek citizens living abroad," it said.

It ordered Greece to pay both plaintiffs 2,000 euros (2,500 dollars) in damages and costs.

© 2010 AFP

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