Derogatory views of Greeks living abroad were heard in Greek Parliament when the Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA lawmakers took the floor.

Greek left-wing SYRIZA lawmaker Pavlos Polakis refered to the “nationalistic extreme right-wing networks” of diasporan Greeks, adding that they don’t vote for SYRIZA. “And because they don’t vote (for us), (conservative ND Interior Minister Makis) Voridis organised the voting (rights) so as to win the elections,” he said.

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The comments showed a reluctance of factions within SYRIZA to offer voting rights to Greek citizens abroad in the fear that this would reinforce the conservative New Democracy government, however there were fallacies in Mr Polakis’ arguments. Firstly, the diaspora is not just made up of “extreme right wing nationalists” – or supporters of one political faction in particular – as Mr Polakis claimed, without backing his comments with any specific proof. Secondly, the right for Greeks abroad to vote is included in the Greek Constitution regardless of whether a means to facilitate this has yet to be established.

Mr Polakis made mention of the “postal vote” for Greeks voting abroad in his comments, something which has not been created as Greek citizens who wish to vote abroad can only do so in person at specific voting centres – a particular problem for areas where huge distances need to be covered, such as Australia.

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Comments took place over discussion for the bill on the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP). During the discussion Mr Polakis directed comments at Mr Voridis. “You became Interior Minister to prepare for the next elections with the ambition of mobilising the nationalistic right-wing networks of Greeks abroad so as to achieve a difference with postal votes which would allow for your borderline win or your conservative defeat,” he said.

“No matter which measures of an the institutional nature you make for the left not to govern, the left will lead again in broad daylight because this is now a need.”