The World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association (PADEE – WHIA) concluded the process of electing its new board, as part of this week’s proceedings at the Greek Parliament.

During his meeting with the newly elected board members, the President of the Hellenic Parliament, Constantine Tassoulas, emphasized the bi-partisan consensus achieved in support of lifting restrictions for Greek nationals living abroad who wish to vote in Greek elections.

“It is also thanks to your presence and pressure you exert that this important issue concerning Greeks abroad is progressing,” he said.

It follows the review of the relevant bill at committee level on Friday.

The bill passed through the Permanent Committee of Public Administration, Public Order, and Justice by a wide majority vote and will be debated in plenary this coming week before it is put to vote.

The Greek diaspora vote was at the heart of their discussion. Photo:Hellenic Parliament/Aliki Eleftheriou

“This agreement was achieved during the time you were here. And I am certain that this common-sense step forward was influenced by your presence. Upon returning to your respective countries of residence, I urge you to spread the message that the solution Greeks abroad have long been waiting for is finally here.”

The Hellenic Parliament President took the opportunity to praise the lobbying initiatives taken by PADEE in a range of pressing issues, including the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece, the Cyprus situation and the ongoing efforts by the Diaspora community to maintain Greek language and heritage.

Re-elected PADEE President Leonidas Raptakis, thanked Mr Tassoulas and the Hellenic Parliament for their continuous support to the works of the association.

Secretary General of the Hellenic Parliament Georgios Mylonakis alongside other Greek officials were among those present at the meeting.

PADEE’s newly-elected board:

President – Leonidas Raptakis (USA)

Vice President A – Effie Triantafilopoulos (Canada)

Vice President B – Steve Georganas (Australia)

Board members – Evangelos Doules (Albania), Marietta Karamanli (France), Nicole Klarides–Ditria (USA), Annie Koutrakis (Canada), Stephan Pappas (USA), Maria Vamvakinou (Australia).

Reelected World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association (PADEE – WHIA) Board Members Australian Federal Parliamentarians Maria Vamvakinou (ALP, Calwell, Victoria) [3rd from left] and Steve Georganas (ALP, Adelaide, SA) [1st from left] with their parliamentary colleague, former deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (National Party, Riverina, NSW)[1st from right] —whose Greek heritage, from his maternal grandfather side, heralds form Achaia—with Australia’s new Ambassador to Greece Ms Alison Duncan [second from left] at the PADEE – WHIA dinner in Alimos Beach, Athens. In the background the Hellenic Air Force Band. Photo: Supplied