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KARPENISI, Greece – As balloting for the European Parliament gets underway Thursday, voters over 55 are emerging as a powerful bloc on a rapidly aging continent where younger voters are staying away from the polls in growing numbers.
Greece has one of the oldest populations in the world, with an average age of 44.5 years. Of the 25 fastest-aging countries in the world, all except two are in the EU.
In Athens, the need for political parties to reach out to older voters has spurred a revival of traditional campaigning. Election kiosks are set up in main squares and metro stations, and TV and newspaper ads for the election are flourishing.
In 2014, European voters over 55 had the highest turnout at 51%, while 18- to 24-year-olds had the lowest turnout at 28%.