11 December, 2006
Stefanos Tamvakis, from Alexandria, Egypt, was elected as the new president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), during the sessions of its 6th world convention, in Thessaloniki on Saturday.
Tamvakis, in the second round of the elections for a new SAE president, garnered 238 votes (55.74 per cent), against 189 votes (44.26 per cent) for Christos Tomaras, from Chicago. Olga Sarantopoulou, from Vienna, was elected secretary and Costas Dimitriou, from Cologne, treasurer.
Philip Christopher, from New York, was elected representative of the Cypriot overseas organizations POMAK and PSEKA.
On his part, Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, at the close of the convention on Sunday, expressed his satisfaction and readiness for another aspect to be given to SAE as a coordinating organization for all overseas Greeks and affiliated organizations.
The SAE convention closed with the issue of four resolutions. Unanimously approved were motions regarding the "name issue" of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM); a solution of the Cyprus issue; the education of expatriate Greeks and recognition of the genocide of the Pontic Greeks.
Papandreou: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Saturday hailed the contribution of expatriate Greeks while at the same time criticizing Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for his high-profile proposal to grant voting rights to ethnic Greeks living abroad, beginning after the upcoming general elections.
Addressing the 6th world convention of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) in Thessaloniki, Papandreou underlined that PASOK never viewed overseas Greeks as "remittances or revenue; it views them as a creative force for change and as a great force for issues of Hellenism."
He also criticized the prime minister, saying that "he did not hold a dialogue with (Greek political) parties and organizations" of expatriate Greeks on their right to vote.
“It has not been clarified who will vote, where and how. We heard nothing about mail-in voting. Others speak of 1.5 million voters and others of 100,000," he said.
Gov't reaction: In response to Papandreou's comments, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos noted that “Mr. Papandreou and PASOK are obviously confused. They cannot explain why for three entire years, from 2001 to 2004, they did absolutely nothing to implement Article 51 of the Constitution regarding the granting of voting rights to overseas Greeks."
Source: Athens News Agency