Rainbow (political party)

Ουράνιο Τόξο Ouránio Tóxo
Виножито Vinožito
Leader Collective Leadership (political Secretariat)
Founded 1994
Headquarters Stephanou Dragoumi 11, 53100, Florina, Greece
Political position Minority, Regionalist party
International affiliation None
European affiliation European Free Alliance
European Parliament Group European Greens–European Free Alliance
Official colours Rainbow
Politics of Greece
Political parties

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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[1] and their descendants abroad. The Rainbow states that it is not a separatist party[citation needed] and sees the acceptance of the Republic of 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 in 1996 formed a coalition in the Parliamentary elections. Members of the party retain Greek[2] names and surnames.

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.[3]


Electoral results

Results, 1994–2009
(year links to election page)
Year Type of Election Votes % Mandates
European Parliament
European Parliament
European Parliament
European Parliament

1 Participated with OAKKE

1994 European 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 MEP’s 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.[4] Following the outcry, the Rainbow and two other leftist lists, which were initially excluded were reinstated.[4] 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.[4] 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%.[4]

1999 European Parliament Election

Rainbow participated in the 1999 elections for the European Parliament, obtaining 4,951 votes (0.08% of the total Greek vote) and failing to elect anyone.

2002 Greek local elections

Petros Dimtsis, a Rainbow Party member, was elected prefecture counselor in the Florina prefecture on a local list also supported by the 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, Ahmet Hacıosman, 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.

2004 Greek Parliament Election

They decided not to take part in the 2004 parliamentary elections, citing shortage of funds as the reason.[5]

2004 European Parliament Election

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,[6] 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.

2006 Greek local elections

Rainbow elected several candidates in the Florina region[citation needed], including Petros Dimtsis who was reelected to the office of prefecture counselor in the Florina prefecture.

2007 Greek Parliament Election

Rainbow chose not to participate in the Greek legislative election, 2007, again citing a shortage of funds.[7]

2009 European Parliament Election

In the 2009 European Parliament election, which resulted in a record low voter turnout,[8] 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).[9] Votes tallied in other prefectures were mostly in the two-digit ballpark.[9]

2010 Greek local elections

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.[10][11]

Political agenda

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 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 DSE partisans expelled during the Greek Civil War from Macedonia (Greece).[12] 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 Macedonia were never re-granted their citizenship.


The party offices of the Rainbow party were opened in Florina on the 6th of September 1995. On the 7th of September the offices had been broken into and had been ransacked.[13] 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 Comitee" written in both Greek and Macedonian Slavic.[14] This sign was then stolen during the raid.

The sign was replaced but on the 12th of 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.[15] Early in the morning of the 13th September the offices of the party were attacked by a number of people, including the mayor of Florina.[16] 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.[15]

On the 13th 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.[17]

See also


External links

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