Monday, October 05, 2009

Greek elections


Yesterday there were general elections in Greece. Elections generally involve a fair amount of travelling as a large percentage of the population vote far from where they live (out of choice, in order to maintain their ties to their hometowns).

Election days are always Sundays and those who vote more than 200 kms away from where they work usually have the Monday off. This means that friends and families have an opportunity (and an excuse) to get together, something that in these days of fast-pace living only ever happens at Christmas, Easter, weddings and christenings.


As there is no school on election day, polling stations are set up within local primary school classrooms, making school yards a hub of activity, only with more adults than kids.


The first two photos were taken by my friend Katerina Nomikou. Katerina is a professional photographer, who also took the fab Folegandros shots I showed you here.

I took the last photo at the school where I and my family voted.

In case you've not heard, the opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) won a landslide victory. Reportedly US President Obama was one of the first foreign leaders to ring new PM George Papandreou to congratulate him, much to the delight of the local media.

16 comments:

Mediterranean kiwi said...

same old, same old...

GMG said...

Hi Tinsie! Profiting from today’s holiday – the 99th anniversary of the Republic in Portugal - I’m happy to have some more time to surf the net and enjoy your blog!

It's similar to what happens here, except that Monday isn't off... We had general elections on September 27th; Socrates won!!! ;)
And we'll have locals on October 11th; busy year...

So, Papandreou(s) are back! Maria doesn't seem so happy... Does Kostas also have a nephew? ;))

Blogtrotter is showing Antalya. Enjoy and have a great week!

Karen said...

As a resident of London you still vote in Greece? What are the rules?

That school is MUCH more colorful that the schools here!

Tinsie said...

@ Mediterranean Kiwi: That's life, I guess... it goes round in circles...

@ GMG: Hahaha! Karamanlis has no nephews and his kids are way too young to be of any consequence in politics for at least another two decades. I guess a lot will depend on who the new conservative leader is, as Karamanlis has already resigned.

@ Karen: I get to vote in England or Greece in the local and European elections, and in the Greek general election. You have to be a citizen of the country in order to have a say in the choice of government, irrespective of where you live.

The school were we voted is stunning - it would put some of the offices I've worked in to shame, and to think it's the school my dad went to some 60 years ago (obviously refurbished, possibly more than once).

Karen said...

TM just looked at this and said, "Hey, that kid is too young to vote!" Which begs a very good question--are the children pictured allowed to hang around during the voting? In America there is a ridiculous demand for privacy while casting votes. Even the voting assistants can't look at your screen while they're helping you figure it out (which creates huge problems for the elderly or those for whom English is not their first language). It's like the blind leading the blind. I can't imagine children being allowed in the mix.

Cherry said...

Hi Tinsie,
I am a new visitor to your blog. Its great to be here. The snaps have come out very good. We at India too end up travelling a lot to vote and that gives us a good opportunity to meet up with friends and relatives. Schools and school teachers are roped in during this time.


Best

Roy

Per Stromsjo said...

So the concept would be - vote remotely (200+ km) and get the day off, huh?

Gattina said...

I saw it on TV. Here too it is the same, the only thing is that voting is obligatory and if you don't show up you get a fine. That's also one of the reasons that I never became a Belgian and kept my German passport. The Germans can vote in their embassies, but as I don't know nothing about German politics I never vote there either, lol !

Tinsie said...

@ Karen: Yes, you can take young children in with you. It's not common (most people choose to leave them at home as it's easier) but you do see kids sometimes going in with their parents. I guess things are a bit more relaxed in Greece compared to the US.

@ Cherry: Welcome! Greek teachers would be very upset if they were ropped in to help and ended up losing their time off :-)

@ Per: Pretty much, although you can't choose your remote location - it has to be where your family comes from, and in order for it to be "remote" you have to move away yourself ;-)

@ Gattina: Voting is compulsory in Greece too, but no fines are given, so if you're determined not to vote, you can usually avoid it easily enough.

palmtreefanatic said...

interesting way you do it there and no school!
this is a neat post! thanks for sharing...

Per Stromsjo said...

Darn. I knew there was a catch! ;)

Tinsie said...

@ Palmtreefanatic: Admittedly schools are shut every Sunday, not just when there are elections. But many schools are closed on the Monday following an election, which gives teachers and students a breather.

@ Per: 'Fraid so ;-)

Shionge said...

So you were originally from Greece? That's so cool. I used to have a penpal in Greece and I'm sad that I've lost touch with her.

Nice day off too :D

Anonymous said...

olo: efige o mpoulis kai irthe o vlakas!!!!!!

Tinsie said...

@ Shionge: Indeed I am, which is why I spend so much time over there.

I too had a penpal from Singapore, and I'm happy to say I'm still in touch with her :-)

@ Olo: Den pistevo oti einai toso vlakas oso nomizame. Min sou po oti paizei na einai kai poli ksipnios. Kai mono pou katatropose ton Venizelo fainetai pos exei tsagano.

Fifi Flowers said...

My youngest son LOVES to go vote with moi... they let him vote on a sample ballot and he NEVER tires of doing it... CUTE!