|Leader||Collective leadership (Political Secretariat)|
|Headquarters||Stephanou Dragoumi 11, 53100, Florina, Greece|
|Ideology||Macedonian minority rights|
|European affiliation||European Free Alliance|
|This article is part of a series on|
|Politics of Greece|
The Rainbow (Greek: Ουράνιο Τόξο Ouránio Tóxo; Macedonian: Виножито Vinožito) is a political party in Greece, and a member of the European Free Alliance. It is known for its activism amongst what it regards as the ethnic Macedonian minority in Greece and their descendants abroad. The Rainbow states that it sees the acceptance of the Republic of North Macedonia in the European Union with a positive regard.
In the past, it had an alliance with the Organization for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece (OAKKE). The two formed a coalition in the Parliamentary elections in 1996. Members of the party retain Greek names and surnames. This is both due to bureaucratic barriers for name-changing and due to their wishing not to alienate their target electorate.
In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights found the Greek government guilty of violating the European Convention on Human Rights by restricting party members' freedom of assembly and failing to provide due process within reasonable time. The Greek government was ordered to pay 35,000 euros in compensation.
(year links to election page)
|Year||Type of Election||Votes||%||Mandates|
1 Participated with OAKKE in the 1996 Greek Parliament election
In the June 1994 Euroelections, a Rainbow list was presented by the Macedonian Movement for Balkan Prosperity (MAKIVE), in cooperation with the Rainbow group of the European Parliament (which included the minority and regionalist MEPs between 1989–1994). The list was immediately strongly attacked and slandered by the state news agency and some media; then the country’s Supreme Court invalidated its candidacy, on the grounds that it had not declared it was not aiming at overthrowing the regime, a declaration not used since 1974. Following the outcry, the Rainbow and two other leftist lists, which were initially excluded were reinstated. The Rainbow list was the only one not to get any air time on state television during the campaign and was not able to distribute ballots in most Southern Greek electoral districts; also, on election day, GHM and MRG-Greece received reliable information that the Rainbow ballot was not given to the voters in many Greater Athens voting places. Despite all those problems, Rainbow received 7,263 votes or 0.1% of the total electorate. Its relative share of the vote was significant in three districts where it received more than half its votes: 5.7% in Florina, 1.3% in Pella, and 0.9% in Kastoria. In the October 1994 more polarized district elections, the Rainbow list in Florina received 3.5%.
Petros Dimtsis, a Rainbow Party member, was elected prefecture counselor in the Florina prefecture on a local list also supported by the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), as was the case that same year and at the next elections in 2006 for the candidate of the Turkish minority's Party of Friendship, Equality and Peace, Achmet Chatziosman, elected on a local list supported by PASOK and Synaspismós in the Rhodope Prefecture. So far, he was the only member of the party ever to have been elected to any office.
They decided not to take part in the 2004 parliamentary elections, citing shortage of funds as the reason.
Rainbow took part in the 2004 elections, obtaining 6,176 votes (0.098%). Their best return was in the Florina prefecture, where they managed to tally 1,203 votes out of 39,532 cast, failing to elect anyone. Out of the 6,176 votes Rainbow Party received, less than half (2,955) were cast in the region of Macedonia itself. Because parties stand for election across the entire length and breadth of the country, the pro-ethnic Macedonian Rainbow Party polled better in such distant regions as Crete and the Peloponnese than it did in many Macedonian prefectures.
In the 2009 European Parliament election, which resulted in a record low voter turnout, Rainbow tallied a countrywide total of 4,530 votes (out of over 5.25 million cast), a 0.09% percentage result, and failed to gain a seat in the European Parliament. Their best return was in the Florina prefecture, with 1,195 votes (a 0.57% increase from the 2004 elections). Votes tallied in other prefectures were mostly in the two-digit ballpark.
Panayotis Anastasiadis (Pando Ashlakov), an active member of the party's leadership, was elected president of the village of Meliti/Ovchareni, but on a broader list, as for the local elections in Greece national parties are forbidden to take part, only local lists compete, usually with the support of several parties.
2019 European Parliament elections
The Rainbow Party received a total of 6,413 votes in the 2019 European Parliament election in Greece. The party performed best in Florina where it received 3.3% (1,123 votes) of the vote, finishing sixth among the parties.
The Rainbow Party is interested in achieving political recognition of what they regard as an ethnic Macedonian minority in Greece, and preserving its culture, language, and customs. Greece officially recognizes the party but not the ethnic group due to the existence of their own regional group also named Macedonians, their own historical association with ancient Macedonians and concerns of irredentism on behalf of the Republic of North Macedonia. This issue is currently subject to a naming dispute mediated by the United Nations.
An issue very important to the Party's agenda is the reestablishment back to Greece of the former ELAS and Democratic Army of Greece partisans expelled during the Greek Civil War from Macedonia (Greece). During the Greek Civil War (1944–1949), many of them took refuge in parts of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (particularly the Socialist Republic of Macedonia), under the protection of the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito. When PASOK was elected for the first time, they allowed all Greek communist refugees, located in many communist states, to return to Greece. However, the refugees now living in the Republic of North Macedonia were never re-granted their citizenship.
The party offices of the Rainbow party were opened in Florina on 6 September 1995. On 7 September the offices had been broken into and had been ransacked. A sign hanging outside the office which had clearly written on it 'ВИНОЖИТО, ΟΥΡΑΝΙΟ ΤΟΞΟ, ЛЕРИНСКИ КОМИТЕТ' (Vinožito, Ouránio Tóxo, Lerinski Komitet). This sign had words "Rainbow Party, Florina Committee" written in both Greek and Macedonian. This sign was then stolen during the raid.
The sign was replaced but on 12 September priests from the Florina region called on people to join a "demonstration to protest against the enemies of Greece who arbitrarily display signs with anti-Hellenic inscriptions". The statement also called for the “deportation” of those responsible. Early in the morning of 13 September the offices of the party were attacked by a number of people, including the mayor of Florina. They broke into the premises, assaulted those inside and confiscated the sign. During the course of the night equipment and furniture on the premises were thrown out the window and set alight.
On 13 September four leaders of the party Pavlos Voskopoulos, Petros Vasiliadis, Vasilis Romas and Costas Tasopoulos were charged with "causing and inciting mutual hatred among the citizens" under Article 192 of the Greek Penal Code.
In Bulgaria historians such as Tsanko Serafimov connect the establishment of the party and the spread of Macedonian nationalism in the Greek region of Macedonia as a whole to a large extent with the disinterest of the Bulgarian state for the rights of the residents with Bulgarian identity in the area after 1944, while at the same time Yugoslavia was conducting intensified propaganda.
- TJ-Hosting. "EFA-Rainbow :: News 2008". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- INTRODUCTION TO THE RAINBOW PARTY Archived 2008-04-08 at the Wayback Machine
- "Greece". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- "THE MACEDONIANS". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-08-29. Retrieved 2005-09-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "ΥΠ. ΕΣ. Δ. Δ. Α." Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Press release of Rainbow Archived 2007-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
- "Record low voter turnout in European Parliament elections_English_Xinhua". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Ministry of the Interior official election returns Archived 2009-06-09 at the Wayback Machine
- The Political Secretariat of Vinozhito/EFA Rainbow, Press release, 18 November 2010
- "ΕΥΡΩΠΑΪΚΗ ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΗ ΣΥΜΜΑΧΙΑ - ΟΥΡΑΝΙΟ ΤΟΞΟ".
- TJ-Hosting. "EFA-Rainbow :: News 2008". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Greek Helsinki Monitor & Minority Rights Group- Greece; Greece against its Macedonian minority Archived 2006-12-09 at the Wayback Machine
- "Amnesty International will adopt members of 'Rainbow' party as prisoners of conscience in case of imprisonment". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- levels, Council of Europe, Directorate of Communications, All DC. "Directorate of Communications - European Court of Human Rights - Chamber judgment - Ouranio toxo and others v. Greece". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- "Human Rights Watch /Helsinki Calls on the Greek Government to Drop Charges Against Activists of the Ethnic Macedonian Rainbow Party (Human Rights Watch, 9-10-1997)". Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Amnesty International; Greece: Charges against members of the "Rainbow" party should be dropped
- Цанко Серафимов, "Македония IX в.пр.Хр. - XXI в. Един прочит на историята на страдалната земя", София, издателство "Орбел", стр. 413